We have always been led to believe that squirrels consume plant matter, but such is nature. Like all mammals, if squirrels encounter an opportunity to eat other animals, they may do so. So, do squirrels eat birds?
Do squirrels eat birds? The answer is yes, squirrels may eat birds. It is rare but not unheard of.
If squirrels get an opportunity to gain nutrients from another animal, they will take it. This behaviour exhibited by squirrels may be a shock, but that is how nature is.
However, squirrels will not actively hunt birds and will stick to eating plant matter. It is only on certain occasions that a squirrel will consume birds. Also, squirrels like to eat small birds.
Do Squirrels Eat Pigeons?
If you have a bird feeder in your garden, you may get a visit from all sorts of birds, including pigeons. Sometimes birds also make their nests in your garden if you’re lucky enough to have trees or large bushes, which makes you want to keep them safe at all costs.
People do not consider squirrels as a possible threat to birds because they mostly consume plant matter. However, squirrels consume small birds, and if they encounter a small or weak pigeon, they may eat it.
Squirrels are infamous for scaring birds away from bird feeders in gardens and occasionally causing them harm.
Do Squirrels Eat Baby Birds?
Unfortunately, squirrels have a bad reputation with nests. When squirrels find a nest with baby birds, they will raid it and eat the baby birds. Along with baby birds, squirrels also consume eggs.
There have been instances when squirrels have intruded in poultry farms to eat chicken eggs. As baby birds are small, the squirrels find it easy to hold and control them.
You may wonder why a mammal that likes to eat plants and nuts would resort to eating birds and eggs. However, it is only a matter of convenience.
Sometimes, a squirrel may be hungry and have no option but to eat the one thing it can easily acquire. Squirrels spend a lot of time climbing trees and looking around for any food sources which is when they easily find bird nests.
Squirrels will mostly attack a nest when the mother bird is not around. Birds are protective of their eggs and young. A squirrel may feel hesitant to attack such a nest.
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Are Squirrels Predators of Birds?
As a reader, one can feel alarmed to find that squirrels like to eat birds. However, squirrel consumption of birds is not as significant to call it a predator of birds.
Squirrels have no impact on the bird population.
While squirrels love bird-watching, they mostly attack vulnerable and injured birds. In addition, squirrels will always wait for an opportunity to eat birds rather than make that opportunity themselves.
Squirrels are not official bird predators but rather only opportunistic omnivores who would eat for survival rather than starve.
How To Repel Squirrels
Squirrels can eat almost anything, and their diet is similar to birds. Therefore, you will find squirrels messing with birds, especially around bird feeders. It is not easy to repel squirrels as they are fast and great climbers. Nevertheless, you can still prevent squirrels from messing with birds.
Squirrels are great at jumping, but their limit is roughly 10 feet if they jump horizontally. When placing bird feeders, ensure that you place them 10 feet away from any nearby tree trunk or branch, window, or pole.
When it comes to vertical jumps, squirrels can jump as high as 4 feet. Therefore, by placing bird feeders 5 feet high, you will ensure that no squirrels reach them.
In addition, you can make squirrel-proof bird feeders by making the enclosure small. As squirrels have big heads, they will not be able to get inside a small enclosure. Small enclosures are great for small birds.
Bird feeds that contain seeds or nuts that are accessible all over are no good. These feeders are usually covered in a mesh where birds (and squirrels) can access the feed from all angles. Instead, look for a bird feeder with a small slot such as the one pictured below:
Squirrels are heavier than birds, and you can use this to your advantage. Invest in a bird feeder that comes with a weight-sensitive perch. If any squirrel tries to enter the bird feeder, the perch will detect the weight and close automatically.
A more traditional way to deter squirrels is to use spicy peppers. Mammals like cats and squirrels are sensitive to spices like cayenne pepper. On the other hand, birds have no issues with pepper. Many bird food manufacturers deliberately add spicy peppers to the food, so other mammals do not eat it.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of putting pepper in food, you can try something else. Squirrels love to munch on sunflower seeds which are common in bird feed. To avoid attracting squirrels, you can place seeds in the bird feeder which they do not like.
Some seeds that squirrels do not like are niger seed which is fed to goldfinches. Other seeds include safflower seeds and white proso millet. You can put these seeds in the bird feeder for the birds.
In addition, you can divert the squirrel’s attention away from the bird feeder altogether by putting out food for it separately. For example, squirrels enjoy eating black sunflower seeds, so you can put them far from the bird feeder they do not bother the birds.
It comes as a surprise to people when they find out that squirrels eat birds. However, one cannot say that squirrels are a predator of birds because they do not actively hunt them. Moreover, the squirrels are opportunistic omnivores. Hence, if they encounter a weak, vulnerable, and small bird, they will consume it.
Squirrels also like to raid nests and eat baby birds and eggs. These mammals are good climbers and can easily find abandoned nests when the mother bird goes out to eat.
You can deter squirrels by placing the bird feeders at a height. You can get a bird feeder with a motion-detector perch, so the perch closes when squirrels enter it.