It can be annoying to think you have birds at your bird feeder and instead find that you just have a pesky squirrel. But does the presence of squirrels deter birds and prevent them from coming to your garden?
Do Squirrels Keep Birds Away?
Squirrels are often not aggressive without reason, so they don’t scare birds away for the fun of it, but they certainly do keep them away.
They will hog any food resource that they can get their hands on, including bird feeders. Squirrels will not leave bird feeders until they have had their fill, and they certainly won’t allow any birds to get to the food.
Birds seem to have learnt to realise this and instead will search for a squirrel free source of food.
Do Squirrels Kill Birds?
Whilst squirrels will often drive birds away, it is rare for them to kill birds, although it is not unheard of.
Squirrels do not kill birds for sport, but in certain circumstances, they will kill birds for food.
This is very rare as, whilst squirrels are omnivorous, many live their lives only consuming plant matter as it requires less effort to obtain it and squirrels also seem to prefer the taste of nuts and seeds to insects and meat.
Do Squirrels Destroy Bird’s Nests?
Similarly to killing birds, squirrels will not destroy bird nests simply for sport. But they are happy to ransack them for food.
Squirrels will take food that birds have stored in their nests for themselves. They have also been known to eat any eggs that are left unattended in bird nests.
Although, that being said, this is usually only if food sources have been hard to come by as they would rather ransack a bird feeder than a birds nest.
Are Squirrels the Only Animal Deterring Birds?
If you are experiencing a lack of birds in your garden compared to what you are used to, squirrels may indeed be responsible.
However, they are not the only creature that would be deterring your birds. Here are some other possible culprits that would explain the lack of birds.
If you have a pet cat, then you likely have already experienced their lovely feathery gifts. Basically, if there are birds that are being killed but not eaten, then the most likely cause is a cat.
If you do not have a pet cat, then a neighbour’s cat may be doing this.
Foxes are urban hunters and are not strangers to searching for prey in gardens.
Once again, you will likely see the remains of any birds if they are victims of foxes. As well as this, if it appears to be happening overnight, then it is very likely to be a fox as squirrels are diurnal and will only search for food during the daytime.
Whilst dogs will not often kill birds and chase them, if birds know that you have a pet dog, they are likely to avoid your garden.
Dogs often disturb birds that are feeding, chasing them away from their spots so birds will look for other places they feed in peace.
There are other factors that can impact whether birds come to your garden. If you want to increase birds, add suitable birdhouses and feeders. Of course, adding bird feeders increases the chances of squirrels in your garden.
To try and prevent this, avoid using peanuts or black sunflower seeds in your bird feed, as these are the favourite foods of squirrels.
To summarise, squirrels can deter birds and decrease their presence in your garden. They will take over bird feeders and ransack their nests for food, but it is rare for them to kill birds.
If you are finding that birds are dying in your garden, it is possible that there is another culprit, such as a fox or a cat.