The leaves have long been gone from trees in Idaho, and are still weeks away from returning, if not a month or more. While the trees are sad to look at these days, and it is tough to know what kind of tree is in most yards or how pretty it can become, they likely aren't entirely bare. In many trees, there is likely a bundle or two of leaves near the top or somewhere up in the branches. Many think these are nests that have been enclosed to keep birds warm for the winter, but they would be wrong. Are these leaves that didn't fall and got caught in the tree, or what are these bundles sitting atop many trees in the Gem State?

Birds Not Only Thing Living in Idaho Trees

Credit: Aastik Maurya on Unsplash
Credit: Aastik Maurya on Unsplash

When the leaves fall in the fall, it is a hassle to have to rake them all up. Most in Idaho view it as a chore, but not all the leaves come down. If you look up and see that bundle still in there, you are looking at what is called a drey. This is essentially a squirrel nest, and where they go to stay warm, sleep, and have their adorable babies. They are not there in only winter, but they often are hidden by leaves when trees are full during spring and summer, so they are only noticed after the leaves have fallen.

What is A Drey?

Credit: Dgwildlife
Credit: Dgwildlife

I assumed everyone knew these bundles of leaves belonged to squirrels, but recently a friend of mine asked what was in a tree, and I was shocked he didn't know. For those who thought they were winterized bird nests, you aren't entirely wrong. Dreys often start as bird nests, and once the birds have abandoned them, squirrels will come in with leaves and twigs and reconstruct the nest to meet their liking. 

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The next time you go for a walk, are shoveling snow, or mowing the lawn, look up and see if you can notice any dreys. You can try to spot them on a walk in the park, around Dierkes Lake, or in your neighborhood. You may have some in your yard you haven't even noticed yet.

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