Have you ever asked yourself “do squirrels eat birds and how do squirrels eat birds ?” After all, these animals have a fairly versatile diet, as they are scavengers. In fact, you might be surprised by some of the things these furry critters will eat in the wild. If you want to know whether or not squirrels ever hunt birds, there is a lot to learn.
Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
Squirrels are definitely known for chasing birds away while they are eating out of a feeder. They can be quite brazen when it comes to taking over food sources, especially when they are hungry. They might get into a fight with a bird if it refuses to leave the feeder. It is however, fairly uncommon for these animals to eat birds in the wild though.
It is more common for squirrels to chase and catch birds as a form of play. Most of the time they do not actually eat the birds they catch.
How do Squirrels Eat Birds?
If a squirrel eats a bird, it is usually already dead due to smacking into a window. Their scavenger instincts take over when they see a dead bird in the wild. Even a fairly small bird can make for a good size squirrel meal.
While there have been reports of squirrels hunting and attacking live adult birds, it doesn’t happen very often. This can vary depending on the type of squirrel and availability of food in the area.
Squirrels tend to eat what they find, as opposed to hunting and killing other animals. They usually don’t go out of their way to find birds or even bird eggs to eat.
Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
A squirrel is more likely to eat a bird’s eggs or nestlings than to feast on a live adult. Even this behavior is fairly uncommon, but it has been known to happen. Squirrels also sometimes eat small insects, reptiles, and rodents when they are desperate enough for food. This doesn’t happen very often, but it has been observed in nature.
Many squirrels make their nests in the cavities of trees where a bird’s nest used to be. It is pretty common for these animals to settle down inside of a tree where a woodpecker once resided. They do not typically kill birds and take over their nests, but rather look for ones that have been abandoned.
Which Squirrels are known for Eating Birds?
There are certain types of squirrels that are more likely to eat a bird than others. While all of these animals may eat a bird occasionally, not all of them do so with the same frequency.
It is not altogether unheard of for a tree squirrel to attack and eat even fully matured birds. These squirrels are not particularly aggressive, but they can be pretty feisty when it comes to satisfying their appetite.
Gray squirrels are known for sometimes taking down decent-sized birds for a meal. These squirrels will even sometimes carefully stalk and hunt their avian prey before launching an attack. They also occasionally dine on the birds, as well as babies that haven’t left the nest yet.
A flying squirrel will sometimes eat the eggs or nestlings of adult birds, but it won’t typically attack or eat healthy adults.
These squirrels eat quite a bit of meat on a regular basis, but it usually consists of various lizards. They do sometimes eat birds, such as ducks or sparrows. Ground squirrels don’t usually go after large healthy adult birds.
Black squirrels inhabit regions all over the United States and Canada. These squirrels eat mostly fruits, nuts, and seeds. They will, however, occasionally eat insects or bird eggs. They are not known for eating adult birds in the wild.
Unlike most squirrels, chipmunks are more than happy to attack and eat adult birds, as well as nestlings and eggs.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
There are a few potential explanations as to why a squirrel might eat a bird. These animals are scavengers, so they will sometimes eat a dead bird they find on the ground. They are also known for raiding the nests of birds to eat their eggs or even nestlings. This is simply a matter of these animals satisfying their natural instincts.
It is also sometimes the case that a squirrel will eat a bird or its offspring if other food options are scarce. While squirrels are usually pretty good at finding the food that make up their regular diet, it can be challenging sometimes.
Tips for Keeping Squirrels Away from Your Bird Feeder
If you have a bird feeder by your home that keeps getting invaded by squirrels, there are a number of ways to keep them away. These animals can go through a startling amount of bird seed within just a day or two. If you want to avoid wasting a ton of your hard-earned money, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind.
Don’t Put Your Bird Feeder Close to Trees
Squirrels have a reputation for being excellent jumpers. They often gain access to bird feeders by leaping from a nearby tree branch. You will therefore want to make sure that your bird feeder is at least 12 feet away from any trees. This helpful little tip can go a long way towards keeping these furry critters away.
Keep it high off the ground
The average squirrel is capable of jumping four feet high, so you will want to put your birdfeeder up at least five feet from the ground. This way you won’t have to worry about any of these animals jumping vertically onto your feeder.
Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
There are plenty of bird feeders on the market that have a “squirrel proof” design. These bird feeders have a cage around them to allow small birds access while keeping squirrels and other pesky critters out. While there is no guarantee that all of these will work, it is an option worth considering. They are quite effective in keeping the bigger birds out as well.
You’ll also be able to find squirrel-proof bird feeders that are designed to close the door when a certain amount of weight is put on the perch. This will do a pretty good job of keeping out squirrels on a consistent basis.
While these feeders might be a little bit more expensive than other models, it could definitely be worth the extra expense.
Give the Squirrels their own food
You can effectively keep squirrels from getting into your bird feeders by simply giving them their own food. Some of the best foods to give these critters include strawberries, corn on the cob, sunflower seeds, pecans, grapes, apples, and carrots. When you provide these animals with a separate food source, they probably won’t look twice at your bird feeder.
Bird Seed Alternatives
The traditional bird seed that most people put in their feeders tends to attract squirrels. There are, however, a number of alternatives to consider.
Spicy Bird Seed
You can buy bird seed that is made to be spicier than most others, which can effectively deter squirrels. While it is true that squirrels aren’t picky eaters, they tend to avoid anything with a hot or spicy flavor. You should be able to find numerous spicy bird feed options at your local pet store. Birds don’t even register the spiciness of the food, so it doesn’t bother them at all. It also won’t hurt the squirrels, but it will probably keep them from coming back.
You will be able to fill your bird feeder with safflower seeds without having to worry about unintentionally enticing any nearby squirrels. There are a lot of different birds that like these seeds, but most squirrels aren’t fond of them at all. They might eat them in a pinch, but it is not their favorite options by any means.
Thistle seed is another great option that will attract goldfinches and other beautiful birds. It is very unlikely that any squirrels will come sniffing around, as they do not like these seeds.
White proso millet
These seeds are excellent for attracting sparrows, and they will not attract squirrels. You can even put your bird feeder close to the ground if you put these seeds in them.
Do Squirrels Eat Birds? A vast majority of squirrels do not eat birds, especially live adult ones. Some of these animals have been known to eat dead birds they happen to find on the ground. They might also consume the eggs of a bird, or their nestlings.
Squirrels are scavengers and tend to just eat whatever they happen to come across each day. This means that they are not calculated hunters that purposely go after birds or any other animals for that matter. If you have a bird feeder near your home, you should consider getting one that is designed to keep out squirrels. They will quickly eat up the bird seed and scare away any birds that try to get to it.