The short answer is YES; squirrels will eat just about anything, including bird eggs and baby birds.
If you have a bird feeder in your yard or even a birdhouse, you may have noticed that squirrels love to visit as well. They may even wear out their welcome, eating all your birdseed and even your bird eggs leaving nothing!
If this has happened to you, don’t worry – there are ways to deter squirrels from your bird feeders and birdhouses. So, let’s get to it and find out more about these pesky creatures that may be bothering your backyard birds.
Do squirrels eat bird eggs?
Squirrels are usually quite harmless and typically don’t eat bird eggs unless they are desperate for food. However, if there is a shortage of food, squirrels will not hesitate to eat bird eggs and baby birds.
If you have noticed that your bird feeder or birdhouse has been raided and there are no bird eggs or baby birds to be found, it is likely that a squirrel is a culprit but probably not the only culprit.
So, YES, squirrels do eat bird eggs. They enjoy eggs from birds like robins, chickens, and doves. They’ll take eggs right out of the nest if they can!
However, squirrels have a minor effect on the bird population.
Do squirrels eat baby birds?
As we mentioned before, squirrels will eat baby birds when the parents are away searching for food if there is a food shortage or an opportunity.
While squirrels leave bird eggs and baby birds alone most of the time, there have been times when they will take the opportunity if given.
In general, though, baby birds are not a common target for squirrels since they mainly prefer a vegetarian diet.
Will squirrels attack bird nests?
Squirrels are known to be predators of bird nests. They will eat the eggs or baby birds inside while the parents are away. This is especially common if there is a shortage of food for squirrels. They typically don’t attack bird nests, although, it’s not completely uncommon for a squirrel to attack a nest.
If you have a squirrel problem and want to protect your bird nest, you can do so by deterring squirrels away from the bird nests and making sure they are fed. You can even use squirrel traps to help protect your bird nests in your backyard.
The video below shows a squirrel going after a nest with baby birds while the parents are nearby. A squirrel trap was even used to try and deter squirrels from the nest but it was already triggered. Be warned it is a little upsetting to watch.
Do squirrels eat adult birds?
Squirrels are not known to eat adult birds. In fact, they are more likely to be prey for larger predators like hawks, owls, and eagles.
However, if a squirrel is desperate enough for food, it may attack an adult bird and try to eat it. It is more common for a squirrel to eat a dead adult bird to sustain itself from hunger or a baby bird.
What small birds do squirrels eat?
As stated above, squirrels don’t typically attack small birds for food unless they are desperate.
If a squirrel were to eat a small bird, it may consume baby birds that have just emerged or a tiny songbird. They are more likely to go after dead birds and fresh hatchlings.
Why do squirrels eat bird eggs and baby birds?
As with any animal, they will eat what they can to survive when food is limited. This means that in the case of a food shortage, squirrels will not hesitate to turn to bird eggs and baby birds as a meal.
They are opportunistic foragers, which means a significant portion of their survival strategy revolves around maximizing every potential food source, including bird eggs and baby birds.
If there is a nest full of eggs or baby birds with the parents nowhere to be found, the squirrel will most likely take the opportunity if they are hungry or curious.
Here are a few other reasons a squirrel might eat bird eggs or baby birds:
- Pregnant females and nursing squirrels may require increased dietary requirements that cause them to seek a more nutrient-dense protein source.
- Local nutrients may be scarce, such as calcium. Bird eggs can assist in supplementing these minerals.
- Seasonal food scarcity may make squirrels more inclined to exploit an egg supply or an unsupervised nest.
- Squirrels may have an easier time finding nesting sites in some environments.
- Squirrels just like to steal things.
What kind of eggs do squirrels eat?
Squirrels enjoy a variety of bird eggs, but some of their favorites include robin eggs, cardinal eggs, chicken eggs, and dove eggs.
What do squirrels eat?
Squirrels seek nuts and indigenous plants to satisfy their hunger. They will, however, consume almost anything they can get their hands on.
Acorns, tree bark, blossoms, fruits, veggies, insects, and a variety of plants are the types of things they search for.
Squirrels are not picky eaters when they are hungry. If the opportunity arises, they’ll try anything that looks tasty, including fledgling birds and bird eggs. Bird eggs are a frequent source of food for a variety of species.
Foods that squirrels won’t eat
Squirrels are not picky; however, they dislike a few things. Their stomachs can not handle foods such as raw garlic, onions, or hot peppers. You probably won’t see a squirrel eating such foods.
These foods may even be used as squirrel deterrents for gardens or yards that want to keep squirrels away.
Squirrels shouldn’t eat processed foods, dairy products, sweets, and chocolate. Despite this, they may still attempt to consume these items.
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Can squirrels eat birdseed?
Yes, squirrels can eat birdseed. Birdseed is not harmful to squirrels. In fact, it is a good source of food for them. The only downside to feeding squirrels birdseed is that they will likely return for more and may become a nuisance.
So, if you want to feed birds instead of squirrels, it is a good idea not to feed them birdseed intentionally.
Are squirrels predators of birds?
Yes, technically, squirrels are predators of birds. But, most birds probably do not view squirrels as a threat unless they have a nest. The exception may be small birds see squirrels as potential predators or competitors for food.
While squirrels are predators of birds, they aren’t commonly known to kill or attack birds. They are more likely to go after dead birds and fresh hatchlings or unattended nests.
What birds are most at risk from squirrel predators?
The most vulnerable are fresh, hatched baby birds, fledgling birds, and possibly tiny songbirds.
What birds are squirrels afraid of?
Squirrels are afraid of owls because they are natural predators. Owls are at the top of the animal food chain, and they will hunt and consume small animals like squirrels as part of their diet.
So, if you have an owl in your backyard, the squirrels will likely stay away.
Another bird that squirrels avoid is the hawk. Hawks are known to eat small mammals such as squirrels. So, it’s no surprise that they would be on the list of animals.
Raptors (birds of prey) typically prey on any small mammals such as squirrels. So, it’s no surprise that squirrels are afraid of these birds.
How do birds protect themselves from squirrels?
Birds use a variety of strategies to avoid predators. Some may utilize their beaks and talons, but most birds seek to avoid predators by concealment. Camouflage and various forms of cover such as grasses, bushes, trees, etc., assist them.
The best way for birds to protect themselves from squirrels is by building their nests in dense trees. This will make it more difficult for a squirrel to access the eggs or baby birds.
Another way birds can protect themselves is by being vigilant and keeping an eye on their nests. If they see a squirrel getting close, they can make a noise or fly at the squirrel to scare it away.
Do squirrels hurt the bird population?
While squirrels may be predators of birds, they are not known to hurt the bird population significantly. In most cases, they only go after eggs or baby birds when food is scarce.
However, while eggs are a component of a squirrel’s diet, they have little influence on the bird population and are not detrimental to the bird population.
The biggest threat to the bird population is humans. We destroy their habitats, pollute the environment, and introduce invasive species that can harm them.
Ways to protect your backyard birds and birdhouses from squirrels
If you’re concerned about squirrels raiding your bird feeders or birdhouses, you can do a few things to deter them and keep them away from your bird feeders and birdhouses.
Put birdhouses in places not easily visible to squirrels
The best defense against squirrels with backyard birdhouses is concealment. If squirrels can’t find the nests, they can’t eat the baby birds or bird eggs.
Squirrels are less likely to discover them and bother the birds if you put your birdhouses in an area where they can’t see them. For easy concealment, place your birdhouses behind dense bushes and trees.
Make it difficult for squirrels to reach your birdhouses
Most birdhouses have big entrances for a variety of birds. If your backyard birds are tiny, you may quickly reduce the size of the opening to prevent squirrels from entering and stealing the eggs.
To make a birdhouse opening smaller, you can use a metal plate or a wooden block to cover up some of the original hole. Another option is to use a wire entrance predator guard or just a simple predator guard for birdhouses.
Another option is to use the 5 7 9 rule for squirrels.
Put your birdhouse 5 feet off the ground, 7 feet on each side from any objects, and 9 feet below an overhang, 90% of squirrels won’t be able to reach your birdhouse. Add a baffle to your birdhouse pole to ensure they cannot climb up it.
By adding 6 inches to those dimensions, you can prevent 100% of squirrels from reaching the birdhouse. You can use this same concept with any of your bird feeders.
Always keep your bird feeder away from trees and bushes. The closer your bird feeder is to a tree or bush, the easier it is for a squirrel to jump on and raid the birdhouse.
Feed squirrels with a squirrel feeder
According to the Humane Society, “if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em.” Basically, if you can’t beat squirrels at their own game and they are taking over your bird feeders and birdhouses, then it’s best to use a squirrel feeder to deter them from your birds.
A squirrel feeder is a great way to do this because it’s designed to give squirrels what they want without giving them access to your bird feeders. This will help keep the peace in your backyard and ensure that they are getting fed without feeding on your bird eggs.
Deter squirrels to a different part of your yard
Have a spot, especially for squirrels, to feed away from your bird feeders and birdhouses.
You can do this by using a squirrel feeder or simply feeding them in a different part of your yard. This will help deter them from your bird feeders and birdhouses because they will know where they can find food without raiding the birds.
Use deterrents to keep squirrels out of your yard altogether
If you don’t want squirrels in your yard and away from your birds, it’s best to completely deter them from your yard.
Best ways to deter squirrels from your yard:
- Use owl decoys to scare them away
- Squirrel-proof bird feeders, so they aren’t tempted by birdseed
- Get rid of easy food sources
- Use garlic or hot pepper smells to keep them away
- Discourage digging by using mulch
- Use netting, fencing, or chicken wire to cover plants
- Use the 5 7 9 rule for squirrels
- Switch from sunflower seeds to safflower seeds (birds love safflower seeds, squirrels don’t care for them)
How to scare squirrels away?
Two of the most common methods to scare squirrels away are to use owl decoys or a motion sensor sprinkler that activates if anything sets off the sensor. Note that these options may also frighten birds and other animals away.
Squirrels are notorious for scrounging and hoarding food, as well as thieving! They lose 25% of their food to birds and other squirrel thieves.
Other Nest Predators
- Other Birds
Do squirrels bother birds?
Yes, squirrels can be a nuisance to birds. They may raid nests and steal eggs or baby birds. They may also compete with birds for food at feeders. However, if you take steps to deter squirrels from your bird feeding area, such as using a squirrel-proof bird feeder, or a predator guard, you can minimize the problem.
Do squirrels attack birds?
No, squirrels do not typically attack birds. However, it can happen but are more known for competing with birds for food at feeders or raid nests and steal eggs or baby birds.
Do squirrels eat birds?
Yes, squirrels eat birds, but it’s not very likely for them to eat birds. A dead bird is what squirrels will more commonly eat or a fresh hatchling. Birds are not on top of the food chain for squirrels.
Do squirrels eat eggshells?
Squirrels, along with other rodents, will consume eggshells because of the calcium.
Can squirrels eat scrambled eggs?
Poultry eggs are delicious to squirrels. It won’t harm squirrels to eat scrambled eggs, but it’s not a part of their natural diet.
Do squirrels eat hard-boiled eggs?
Squirrels will consume a wide range of foods, including hard-boiled eggs.
Do squirrels eat robin eggs?
Squirrels will eat any type of bird egg they can get their hands on, including robin eggs.
Do squirrels eat dove eggs?
Yes, squirrels will eat Dove eggs.
Do squirrels eat duck eggs?
If a squirrel discovers a duck egg, it will consume it. Ducks don’t construct nests as other birds do, but they will eat one if discovered. Ducks are great at hiding their nests, making it quite difficult for a squirrel to find.
Do squirrels eat meat?
Squirrels are omnivores; they eat plants and meat, with the majority of their diet being plant and nut-based.
Do gray squirrels eat bird eggs?
Yes, gray squirrels, including other squirrels, will eat bird eggs if given a chance.
Do red squirrels eat bird eggs?
Like their squirrel brother and sisters, red squirrels are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever they can grab with their claws, including bird eggs and baby birds.
Do black squirrels eat bird eggs?
Black squirrels are the same as any other type of squirrel and will eat bird eggs.
Do flying squirrels eat bird eggs?
Squirrels of all species, including flying squirrels, will invade a nest and eat the eggs.
Do raccoons eat baby bird eggs?
Raccoons are notorious for robbing bird nests and eating eggs. Raccoons have a varied diet, which includes pretty much everything.