If you have a garden, you will notice that squirrels are common visitors. However, while the sight of squirrels, with their bushy tails running around your garden, may seem pleasant, it is not for long. Squirrels can create havoc in gardens, messing and destroying plants. In addition, squirrels can also get into homes, and the infestation can cause great problems for humans. Not only this, but squirrels also cause problems for other animals in the garden.
Squirrels can destroy bird nests as they are omnivores. These rodents eat both plants and meat.
You will always find squirrels running around bird nests. These rodents will take any opportunity they can to gain nutrients. Therefore, if squirrels get the opportunity to attack bird nests and consume birds, they will take it. Squirrels may not hunt actively for birds and consume plant matter. Mostly, squirrels opt for eating small birds.
Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
Squirrels are opportunistic animals and will eat birds if they have access to them. As squirrels are small animals themselves, they go for small birds. How often a squirrel will consume birds depends on if they have access to other means of food.
As squirrels prey mainly on small birds, they will attack baby birds. When squirrels find nests, they will raid them and eat the baby birds. Squirrels will only attack nests if they are left unattended by the mother bird. Birds are quite protective of their babies, so squirrels are hesitant to attack nests when the mother is around.
It becomes confusing when they find that squirrels consume birds because they always think of them as herbivores. However, sometimes there can be a lack of nuts and vegetation for squirrels to feed on. Therefore, these mammals will eat whatever is convenient for them. Squirrels are found climbing trees, and this is where they find bird nests with small baby birds in them.
Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Sometimes, a squirrel may feel hunger, and the only access it will have is to bird eggs. Again, to reinforce, squirrels will actively look for bird eggs to eat, but they will do so if they are low on food. In addition, squirrels spend a lot of their time climbing trees, and therefore, will attack any nest that has eggs in it. Not only this but there have been instances when squirrels have been caught eating eggs from poultry farms.
Apart from being opportunistic eaters, squirrels eat bird eggs because they might require extra nutrition. For example, squirrels that are pregnant or have young babies will need extra protein and nutrition and will consume bird eggs. In addition, even if sufficient food is available, it may not be rich in nutrients, and eating bird eggs is a way to make up for it.
Sometimes, the only reason squirrels are attacking bird nests is because they have easy access to them. Hence, it is convenient for squirrels to get to the eggs, and they take the opportunity. However, squirrels are rodents, and even other rodents are known to steal eggs.
Do Squirrels Eat Adult Birds?
As squirrels kill baby birds and eat them, it is natural to question whether they attack adult birds. However, most of the time, adult birds will be safe from falling prey at the hands of squirrels.
But it does not mean that squirrels do not kill and eat adult birds. If the circumstances are right, squirrels can kill adult birds, but it does not happen often. Adult birds are strong and can take care of themselves. Killing adult birds requires a bit of effort, which squirrels tend to avoid. Therefore, it is not something that squirrels wish to spend time on daily.
Which Birds Do Squirrels Attack the Most?
Some birds can be more at risk of becoming a squirrel’s prey due to various factors. This includes the type of bird they are and where they have their nest.
Young birds are at risk of falling prey to squirrels because of their small size. These include birds in the nestling phase and the egg. Squirrels choose to feed on young birds because they cannot put on a strong front, and it is easy to kill them.
Apart from age, other factors like where adult birds build their nest also play an important role. For example, bird nests present in open forests that do not have a lot of shrub cover are at risk. In addition, birds who choose to nest in the canopy of trees become easy for squirrels to find as they spend most of their time jumping from one tree to another.
There are also other factors like the food source. For example, if the location does not have sufficient food for squirrels, which is their nuts and plants, they will resort to consuming birds. The same case happens if the squirrel population is a lot in a certain area. An increasing squirrel population will lead to insufficient food and, in return, more squirrels feasting on birds.
Squirrels can be quite the menace to deal with. Some people may not realize and fall for their bushy tails and cute features, but squirrels create havoc wherever they go. Not only do these rodents affect gardens and properties but also other animals. One of the animals which squirrels affect is birds. It comes as a surprise to people, but squirrels are omnivores. Squirrels are opportunistic eaters and will consume birds, the small ones when they get the chance.
Apart from birds, squirrels will also consume bird nests. It all comes down to the accessibility and convenience with which the squirrels can get to the eggs. However, squirrels will not eat eggs out of nests if the mother bird is still there. Squirrels are capable of killing adult birds, but they choose not to because it requires time and effort. Usually, baby birds and nests located in canopies, open forests, or in locations with insufficient food are susceptible to squirrel attacks.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden