If you’re like me, then you’ve often wondered “do squirrels eat birds?” After all, I feed both birds and squirrels in my backyard, so I set out to find out everything you need to know whether or not if a squirrel will kill a bird.
- 1 Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
- 2 Can Squirrels Eat Birds?
- 3 Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs and Baby Birds?
- 4 Why Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
- 5 Can Squirrels Eat Bird Seed?
- 6 Do Squirrels Attack Bird Boxes?
- 7 How to Protect Your Backyard Birds and Your Bird Houses
- 8 Bottom Line
- 9 References and Further Reading
Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
We already know that squirrels love bird seed and that’s why you need to invest in a squirrel proof bird feeder. Although squirrels are predominantly herbivorous, they have been known to eat bird eggs, young birds and smaller animals if their food source is scarce.
While they won’t necessarily attack a bird, they seem to target empty bird nests. If you have both bird houses and squirrel houses, it’s important to know what squirrels eat.
They absolutely love eating birdseed, suet, and some will even eat dead birds and their eggs. We’re taking a closer look at what you need to know about the types of squirrels that will eat from your backyard birds and nests.
Related: What Eats Animals Eat Squirrels?
Can Squirrels Eat Birds?
I know that it’s hard to believe that a squirrel can eat a bird. While they won’t be able to eat a full-grown Robin or other big bird. It is NOT uncommon for them to eat a bird. Watch this video to see a gray squirrel eating a bird.
Although it’s not common for them to eat meat, they thrive on a diet that consists of fruits, fungi, nuts, and etc. These rodents have been known to eat rats, snakes and even baby Robins.
Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs and Baby Birds?
By now you should know that the foods a squirrel will eat depend on the species and where they live. A squirrel’s diet will depend largely on their environment.
Grey squirrels and chipmunks are known to be nest raiders and will eat both eggs and baby birds. On occasion, they may eat an adult bird. However, they normally eat birds that are already dead.
This behavior is not unusual, after all, squirrels eat a lot of food. They are foragers and are known to eat pretty much anything they can find.
Studies have shown that some gray squirrels will even eat other gray squirrels. The image on the left is a picture of a chipmunk and a grey squirrel eating a baby bird, courtesy of Ask A Naturalist Website.
You might think that mama birds would protect their nests given the fact that grey squirrels and chipmunks are known for raiding their nests. However, if a squirrel enters a birds nest that has eggs, the adult birds will simply abandon the nest.
They usually won’t take a stance to defend the eggs. They know that the chicks won’t survive without a parent if they get killed in the confrontation.
They have a similar diet to the gray squirrel, however, they are more carnivorous. They will eat young birds, bird eggs and can be extremely destructive.
These critters will spend most of their day foraging for food and they are also known as nest robbers like the grey tree squirrels.
The Southern flying squirrel can be found living in deciduous and coniferous forests and woodland areas.
Like the other types of tree squirrels, their diet will usually consist of vegetation, fruits, nuts, and berries.
They are opportunistic eaters which means that they will eat any type of edible nutrition source they can find. This means they won’t hesitate to eat insects, birds, and bird eggs.
Now that you know all tree squirrels and chipmunks will eat baby birds. It’s important to take some steps to protect your backyard birds. (I’ll share some tips below)
Why Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
Squirrels eat a lot of food, about a pound per week. They are opportunistic eaters that will eat pretty much anything they can find.
It’s not surprising to see them eating human food, candy bars, mushrooms, birdseed, and anything they can find.
They are NOT usually predators that will hunt down bird nests with baby eggs. However, if they come upon an abandoned nest or the mother is not there, they will not turn down a free meal.
Can Squirrels Eat Bird Seed?
Yes, they can and if you don’t take preventative measures, they can cost you hundreds in dollars in lost bird seed.
Despite the fact that bird seed is good for birds, it does not provide any nutritional value for squirrels. While squirrels won’t eat all types of bird seed.
They do gravitate to the black oil sunflower seeds, and nut-based blends and will even eat your homemade bird fat balls. Which are the most common types that people use to fill their backyard bird feeders?
Do Squirrels Attack Bird Boxes?
Squirrels will primarily enter birdhouses in search of food. They are always foraging for seeds, nuts, and other vegetarian food items to take back to their nests.
They are no carnivores in search of meat, however, this doesn’t mean that they won’t kill nesting birds or put them at risk.
If you know that one of your backyard birds has a nest of eggs, you need to protect them.
Otherwise, you may go outside one day only to notice that they ate the baby eggs or birds.
As I mentioned above, the mama birds will not confront or defend their own eggs, so it’s up to you to take the precautions if you’re providing shelters for your backyard birds.
How to Protect Your Backyard Birds and Your Bird Houses
If you’re like me, you love feeding the backyard squirrels. However, this doesn’t mean that you want them eating your birdseed or hurting the wild birds.
I’ve written an in-depth guide to keeping squirrels out of bird feeders. One of the best ways we’ve managed to keep them from eating the sunflower seeds (which they absolutely love) is investing in a squirrel proof feeder.
While you’re protecting your bird feeder, you will also need to protect your birds’ suet. They absolutely love eating it and before we took preventative measures, we lost hundreds on our birdseed and suet from the squirrels eating it.
If you’re like me, you love feeding your backyard squirrels. However, you don’t want them bothering or hurting your birds.
Hopefully, this article showed you the importance of protecting your backyard birds.
The best thing you can do to protect your baby chicks is to take action to protect your birdhouses.
If you’re feeding squirrels at their own feeder, there’s a good chance that you won’t have to worry about them trying to steal eggs from the birdhouses.
Our squirrels have stopped bothering the bird feeders once we installed baffles and invested in the right feeders.
Related Articles On What Do Squirrels Eat
References and Further Reading
Ask a Naturalist – Is Eating Dead Birds Normal for A Squirrel Or Chipmunk?
Los Angeles Times – Bird Lovers Aren’t Amused by Antics of Tree Squirrels