I've always assumed that the big ball of leaves and sticks between branches, up in my trees, were bird nests. Boy, was I wrong.

Thinking back, they don't look like traditional bird nests like the one below, so I should have known better. I just thought birds were a little messy sometimes. Ha ha.

young Chicks in the nest

What you're seeing instead is called a drey.

Have you heard of such a thing?

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It is the name of a squirrel's nest. Did you know that squirrels made nests? I most certainly did not.

The outside of a drey is made up of sticks and leaves. The inside is made up of softer things like pine needles or moss, because that's where squirrels sleep and go for protection. They like to be comfortable, just like us.


Some people mistake a drey for a hornet's nest because of its shape, but there seems to be a difference in color.

Hornet's nests are usually gray in color. A squirrel's drey is usually brownish because it's made up of twigs and dried leaves.

There are so may trees and leaves around in New Jersey, it's no wonder dreys are often spotted throughout the state. New Jersey is known as the Garden State, after all.

READ MORE: L.E.A.D. State Fair at Mercer County Park Kicks off June 28

Now when I spot a drey, I'll know exactly what it is.

Speaking of squirrels, have you ever noticed any black squirrels in New Jersey?


I've only ever spotted them in the Princeton-area (Mercer County). They definitely stand out.

For more information on squirrel dreys, click here.

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