As you watch the bustling activity in your backyard, you notice squirrels darting about and can’t help but wonder, do squirrels actually eat bird eggs?
Yes, squirrels do eat bird eggs. Contrary to the widespread belief that they are solely herbivores, squirrels are omnivores. When given the chance, they will prey on bird eggs, particularly those of songbirds which are easier to locate.
Hence, we talked about what needs to be done to keep the squirrels away and explained why squirrels eat birds’ eggs, the type, and their overall food habit. Keep reading!
Why Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
So, we’ve figured out that squirrels eat bird eggs, right? Now let’s dive deeper below to understand why they do that:
Shortage of Food
One of the first things that make squirrels eat bird eggs is when there is a food shortage. Generally, they are harmless. However, they may even eat baby birds or attack big birds when food is scarce.
To maximize their survival, squirrels utilize every potential food source, whether eggs or baby birds. Remember, they are omnivores.
Squirrels benefit significantly from the calcium, protein, and fats of birds’ eggs. Besides, pregnant and nursing squirrels often seek eggs that require extra nutrients.
Nesting sites for squirrels may be easier to locate in certain habitats. And if they find them unsupervised, they will climb the tree and steal the eggs.
Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
Squirrels can sometimes eat birds as well—however, the smaller ones are not adult birds. And that, too, is primarily due to food shortages around.
They could sometimes become desperate due to seasonal food scarcity and attack adult birds, such as tiny songbirds. Moreover, sometimes, you may find squirrels feeding on dead birds, which is quite common.
Do Squirrels Eat Baby Birds As Well?
Yes, squirrels eat baby birds as well. They would mostly predate baby birds if there is a food shortage or when getting an opportunity.
It is easy for them to steal baby birds when their parents are not around. Besides, the nest should be easy to identify or invade.
When parent birds are away from the nest, their baby birds are vulnerable to being taken by predators. An accessible or unprotected nest makes it even easier for predators to steal the young hatchlings.
Take a look at this article: Can Birds Fly At Night?
What Types of Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Check out the list of squirrel species that eat birds’ eggs.
- Eastern Gray Squirrels
- Fox Squirrels
- Red Squirrels
- Flying Squirrels
- Eastern Gray Squirrels
- Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels
- Franklin’s Ground Squirrels
- California Ground Squirrels
- Belding’s Ground Squirrels
- Southern Flying Squirrels
- Douglas Squirrels
Are Squirrels Predators Of Birds?
Squirrels can be called predators of birds. However, they are not the most threatening ones. They will occasionally look for birds as feed when there is a food shortage or if they get an opportunity. Hence, the name opportunistic omnivores!
Squirrels are typically seen to feed on small birds’ eggs. However, they sometimes attack the eggs of large birds as well. They also are more likely to go after dead birds. Besides, when a nest is unsupervised by parents, squirrels may attack the nest and feed on baby birds.
Also, you won’t usually see squirrels killing or attacking birds. This can only happen if the squirrel is overly hungry or injured.
What Birds Are Most At Risk From Squirrel Predators?
One of the most vulnerable bird groups from squirrels is the baby birds, which are newly hatched or fledged. The tiny songbirds are also potential prey for squirrels. The nests of these birds are comparatively close to the ground, which puts them at greater risk.
Here’s a quick look at the birds that are at more risk,
Songbirds: Robins, Bluebirds, and Sparrows.
Trees and Shrub Nesting Birds: Chickadees, Wrens, and Titmice.
Bird Nesting Near Ground: Grouse, Quail, and Pheasants.
What Birds Are Squirrels Afraid Of?
Squirrels are generally afraid of Owls, Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons. These birds are natural predators that prey on small mammals such as squirrels.
The squirrels have evolved to fear them, so they typically flee or freeze in one place when they see them. In rare instances, squirrels may attempt to defend themselves against these predators.
Squirrels are also known to fear crows and magpies. However, they do not hunt squirrels but harass or bully them, especially when fighting for food.
Will Squirrels Attack Bird Nests? And How to Protect It?
Yes, squirrels attack bird nests. They are known for their ability to climb. They can easily access high trees as well. So, upon sighting an unattended nest, they will climb and steal the eggs or attack the baby birds.
We can, however, take a few simple measures to prevent them from attacking the nests in our yards.
Protect the Nest
You can place the nest in the highest location of a tree, which may be difficult for squirrels to reach. Besides, you can use chicken wire or fencing around the nest. You can also install a squirrel baffle near the nest.
Carefully Place Bird Feeds
It would be best to build barriers around bird feeding areas since bird feed can attract squirrels easily. Don’t place the foods in a place where squirrels can easily spot them. As a final tip, ensure food is kept from the house premises.
When spotting squirrels, make loud noises or spray water in their direction to scare them off. You can also use a motion sensor light or a device that makes loud noises.
Last but not least, seek assistance, If things go out of control, contact local wildlife removal professionals for help.
How To Stop Squirrels From Eating Bird Eggs?
Here are a few methods to prevent squirrels from eating bird eggs. Note that not all of them will be equally effective.
- Use a squirrel baffle near the nest area on any tree branches.
- Cover the nest with netting, such as chicken wire.
- Make noise or use water spray to scare away any squirrel spotted.
- You can place a harmless squirrel trap near the nest area. When trapped, release them in any suitable remote location.
- Place the birdhouse behind a hideout like trees or dense bushes.
- Ensure the birdhouse’s opening is small enough so squirrels can’t get in.
- Use a predator guard at the openings of the birdhouse.
- Place your birdhouse 5 feet from the ground, 7 feet from any objects on either side, and 9 feet below any overhang to prevent 90% of squirrels from entering.
Do Squirrels Adversely Affect Bird Populations?
Even though squirrels’ impact on the bird population is debatable, we cannot conclude that they are responsible for the significant loss of different bird species.
Keep in mind that squirrels eat bird eggs or attack them occasionally. Moreover, birds have also adapted defense mechanisms against such predators.
There are, however, cases in which squirrels have been observed to interfere with specific bird populations. Fox squirrels, for instance, often raid American Robin nests, which is regarded as a massive concern. Also, squirrels can be threatening to already endangered bird species.
Squirrels eat bird eggs. They are opportunistic foragers. Therefore, occasionally, you will see them eating bird eggs or even baby birds besides their usual diet. They evolved to eat anything to survive in harsh situations, such as when food is scarce.
They are a bird predator but not a significant one that could adversely impact birds’ populations. To stop them from feeding on eggs or small birds, safeguard your birds’ nests.
FAQs About Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs
Do Squirrels Eat Baby Birds Or Just Eggs?
Squirrels eat both eggs and baby birds that are freshly hatched. However, this mostly happens when there is a scarcity of food or if the squirrels get an opportunity. They are hence named opportunistic feeders.
Do Squirrels Eat Robin, Dove, And Duck Eggs?
Yes, squirrels will eat robin, dove, and duck eggs. It is easier for them to eat eggs from smaller birds than from larger birds. Getting eggs from ducks or geese may be challenging.
Do Red, Gray, And Flying Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Red, Gray, and Flying Squirrels are all known to eat bird eggs. Many squirrel species eat bird eggs as part of their diet. Due to their high nutritional value and high energy content, eggs are appealing to them.
Do Squirrels Bother Birds?
Yes, squirrels can bother birds. To begin with, they compete for food with birds. Second, squirrels eat bird eggs and young birds. Finally, squirrels can damage bird nests by pulling out nesting materials or destroying the entire nest.
Do Squirrels Attack Birds?
A squirrel will attack a bird if it is overly hungry, meaning there is insufficient food. Besides that, they won’t bother fighting with birds, especially the big ones.
What Will Scare Squirrels Away?
You can install a motion sensor light or a noisemaker to startle squirrels. Besides, certain smells such as peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, or mothballs can help to keep them away. Moreover, apart from creating physical barriers, you can also use predator decoys.
I’m Shajid Rahman, founder of Birding Outside. I share my birding knowledge through my website to help others learn about birds. I use simple language so it’s easy to understand. My goal is to get more people excited about birds like I am by teaching about these special creatures. I want to spread bird love!