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Busy Squirrel Building a Nest

By: Tommy B

In all of my years I have never seen a squirrel build a nest.  I’ve seen leaf nests in the tops of trees and have often seen squirrels go in their nests inside dead or dying trees, but never saw the most pure, most basic survivor instinct of an animal building a shelter (well, I take that back, I’ve seen birds working on nests).

What brought about this phenomenon?  Deer season ends on Saturday and I have only gotten one deer this year, but really need another to have a full year of venison provisions.  So, I got home from work this evening and had just enough time to get into the woods for an hour before it got dark.  Tonight I picked a spot that was pretty deep in the woods and was a perfect area smack dab in the middle of several deer trails.  After about 15 minutes of decompressing from my busy day at work, I began to relax and become aware of all of the sounds and visual beauty around me.  I heard the soft sounds of the flowing creek, I heard the leaves rustling from the occasional wind gusts, I heard the neighbors dogs barking echoing off the mountain, and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a grey squirrel going up a tree.

Squirrel next post image

I didn’t think much of the squirrel at first.  I’m see squirrels all the time and have a tendency to “overlook” them after watching them go from tree to tree for a few minutes.  But, this time was different, special, if I dare say!  I watched this squirrel climb down the tree and onto the ground.  He/she rustled around in the leaves a bit and then began climbing the tree again, but with something in its mouth.  I had to look hard, because it was probably 40-50 yards away, but saw that it had leaves in its mouth.  I watched the squirrel climb the tree, expecting it to start building a nest in a clump of branches, but it disappeared!  I waited and here it came again back down the tree.  More leaves in mouth it made its ascent again, this time I saw the area on the tree where it disappeared and although blurry to the naked eye, I knew it must have been a hole in the tree that the squirrel was “renovating” to make its home.  I used the scope of my gun and sighted in the spot and watched the squirrel go head first, mouth full of leaves, into the hole.

I watched the squirrel for a good 30 minutes in awe.  The squirrel made dozens of trips up and down carrying mouth-fulls of leaves each trip up.  I gave thanks that I was able to witness such primal, natural animal behavior.  After awhile my mind started to wander and I wondered if the squirrel might have a big juicy nut for dinner after his hard work, or if there were baby squirrels in there, or where his girlfriend was…..

It was dark when I left the woods, not seeing a single deer, but I could not have imagined a more perfect evening.

Category: Animals, Simple Thoughts

Comments (8)

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  1. Everett says:

    I have a suspicion that a lot of boisterous, manly hunters (like my brother, newphew and the cammo crew in town these days) secretly enjoy this quiet time in nature more than actually hunting. I know I do!

  2. Keri Morgret says:

    This actually reminds me of a dive I once did. It was off of San Clemente (California Channel Islands) and fairly soon after descending I spotted an octopus (they usually hide during the day and are active at night).

    The water conditions were just perfect with no current at all. I signaled to someone else to come take a look, and we just hung there in the water for 30 or 40 minutes watching this octopus watching us and slowly moving around the island wall. A lot of dives involve trying to swim and see as much as you can, or swim a ways from the boat to the interesting spot. This was neat to be able to just sit there and observe like we did.

  3. SanDandy says:

    My husband and I take all the pine needles each year and put them through the chopper to make mulch for our flower beds. We have a squirrel that lives in our tree in our front yard. One morning I saw the squirrel going up the tree with its mouth JUST FULL of the mulch we had just made. My husband and I joked that maybe he was getting married so he was adding on or maybe he had company coming for the holiday…
    Two days later we had an very unexpected cold snap. Bitter cold. I told my husband that our little friend must have known the cold was coming and was preparing his home.

  4. Tommy says:

    I have yet to do a dive, but it is on my list!

    And, SanDandy, I had a question about your flower bed? I’ve always heard too much pine needles can make the soild to acidic??? How do your flowers do?

  5. SanDandy says:

    That is true. Our soil is not very good and my husband tests it every year to see what is needed to bring it in balance. Our vegetables and flowers do fine because we add whatever is lacking.
    We maybe up your way in a couple of weeks. We haven’t finalized plans yet.

  6. Everett says:

    Give us a call if you end up coming around. We’d love to see you again.



  7. Tommy says:

    Same for me. I can show you my place and would love to see yours.

  8. SanDandy says:

    Thanks Everett. Thanks Tommy. We would love to see both of your places. Where we live it is really hard to find like minded people.
    Our plans now are to leave Christmas day and travel to Far West Texas. Maybe this summer we will visit your area.
    Merry Christmas!

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