Animal den/nest


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Old 05-08-08, 10:44 AM
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Animal den/nest

My family has been puzzled over the sudden presence of an animal den in our backyard. The den, which I initially assumed was just a pile of brush is very obviously a deliberate construction. Larger branches with mud and dry vines on top. The ground underneath looks like it has been dug a bit, so the overall space inside is larger than it looks from the outside. The backyard is a wooded area next to an open field, if that helps. We've gotten quite an array of animals over the years, but we've never had one build a nest right out in the open, so we're rather curious as to what it could be. Anyone recognize the style of den/nest and know? I'll include a link to pictures below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26402297@N06/2474137967/
 
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Old 05-08-08, 11:33 AM
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Where are you located? There's a stick nest rat in Australia that comes to mind. Do you live in the US where there are armadillos? Woodrats?
 
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Old 05-08-08, 01:46 PM
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Sorry, should have put that in the original post. I live in Southwest Michigan, so no armadillos and I don't think any woodrats, either.
 
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Old 05-08-08, 03:18 PM
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Ever heard of the Michigan Harriers? Wonder if this is a northern harrier nest? They are ground nesters. Although they usually nest near tall grass or shrubs, they do build nests in fields and meadows. I suggest that you stop by the local Cooperative Extension Agent's office or Dept. of Natural Resources and show them a copy of the photo. Then, you can put us out of our misery wondering what this nest is. I grew up practically outdoors in the WV hills and have never seen anything like it.
 
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Old 05-08-08, 07:07 PM
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I have been serching for two hours and not found anything that resembles what you have. You don't mention any body of water such as a stream, pond or lake nearby, so that will eliminate a few suspects.

Have you seen any scat nearby? Maybe some on a rock or near the woodland edge? I have sites for id. Can you take a picture if you find any?

I wonder if it could be an opossum. Have you tried sprinkling flour around the den and photographing the footprints? I have sites for id of tracks too.

Newt
 
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Old 05-08-08, 08:13 PM
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Thanks, Newt. Need you here on this one as always on all other issues. I really think a pic to the local wildlife folks is the answer.

Spent many hours of research. Growing up in Appalachia, never encountered such a nest. Nothing in zoology at Marshall University rings a bell.

No mention of scat or foot prints. Just looking for a clue. I think if the guy took a pic of the nest to local wildlife and agriculture agencies he could get an answer and share here.

I just keep thinking in my last research warp that it is a harrier. I grew up primarily in the outdoors in Appalachia and have never encountered anything that looks like this. I have Googled and have done much research on the northern harrier.

I think that once our poster takes his picture to local wildlife or other agricultural agency there, that we will we all become informed. We look forward to poster's replies and additional info.

Again, grew up outdoors in Appalachia and am a girl of the woods. Never encountered such.
 
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Old 05-08-08, 09:45 PM
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I haven't found any scat or tracks. It's been a bit rainy lately, so it might have washed things away. The flour is a great idea, though. It's supposed to be a bit clearer the next few days, I'll have to try to get some tracks! It's been rather strange, too, because I haven't actually seen the animal. I (carefully) scouted around the den to look for scat and tracks, and tried to peek in... but found nada.
I'm glad I'm not the only one baffled. I'm pretty good at animal idenitification (another girl of the woods), but I've searched through books and all over the internet and haven't been able to find anything that resembles the den/nest. I thought it could be possum because we've had a few in the past, but it looks nothing like the dens I've seen previously. My mother has been teasing me for becoming so obsessed with figuring it out. I really just don't want her to destroy it if it's not dangerous or doing anyone harm.
Thanks for your input, I'll be sure to update if/when I figure it out. I can't really take it to the DNR because I'll be out of the country for a few weeks, but maybe something will turn up before I leave on Monday.
 
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Old 05-08-08, 10:36 PM
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Could you just drop off a photo at DNR before you leave the country. Depending on area and staffing, their response may be slow. Maybe slower than usual. Leave contact info and post here. Inquiring minds need to know.
 
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Old 05-09-08, 11:23 PM
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Linsaui, here's some sites for tracks if you get the chance to do the flour.
http://wildwoodtracking.com/techniqu...ksandsign.html
http://dirttime.ws/Notebook/Notebook.htm
http://www.cityofmelrose.org/departm...cks/tracks.jpg
http://www.bear-tracker.com/index.html

For scat.
http://www.terrierman.com/scatanswers.htm
http://www.bear-tracker.com/animalscat.html

From the way the den is staged it reminds me of what some tropical birds do to woo a mate. In your climate that just couldn't be.

I hope you can send the pics to DNR and get an answer. Have a safe trip.

Newt
 
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Old 05-09-08, 11:25 PM
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Twelvepole, thanks for the compliment. I too grew up in the mountains and have never seen anything like this in the US. Very strange. Hope we get an answer as I'm most curious.

Newt
 
 

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