Do Squirrels In Minnesota, Iowa, & SD Use Plastic Bags In Nests?
In Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota I've noticed this fall that high in the trees that a lot of squirrels' nests seem to have plastic shopping bags in them. What's Up?
This fall I've been traveling from South Dakota through Minnesota and into Iowa.
I was recently stopped at a gas station in Albert Lea, Minnesota when I looked up in a stand of trees that had recently dropped their leaves when I noticed a squirrel's nest with a plastic shopping bag hanging out of it.
I assumed a bag had just blown up there and gotten stuck in the branches.
On that same trip, I was shopping at a store in Decorah, Iowa when I noticed the same thing in some trees down by the Upper Iowa River.
I thought that was strange but I figured people just aren't being responsible in how they are handling plastic shopping bags and they must be blowing all over the place.
A few days later in some trees by the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I saw it again...a plastic shopping bag coming out of a squirrel's nest.
This can't just be a coincidence. These little rodents must be using plastic as nesting material.
Sure enough...according to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History...
“Now that plastic exists as a readily available substance in the environment, birds and nest-building mammals such as squirrels and opossums, frequently incorporate plastic materials into their nests.”
It appears that Squirrels are doing a much better job of recycling than us humans.