Do Squirrels Eat Birds: A Guide to Keeping Backyard Birds Safe From Squirrels

Yes, squirrels can and do eat birds. They can feed on bird eggs and baby birds, but it is not every day. Squirrels are known for their scavenging behavior, so it is also possible that they may feed on dead birds, but this is very rare. Generally, squirrels will not eat birds, but it is always best to be sure.

Feeding squirrels bird feed in your backyard to protect birds is not necessary as they are not naturally inclined to feed on birds. If you want to feed squirrels to help protect birds, use bird seed that is low in bird feeder seed. You can also feed bird food indoors in a bird feeder.

Squirrels Eating Birds

Squirrels As Predators of Birds

Squirrels are known to be predators of birds because of their omnivorous diet; squirrels are known sometimes to kill smaller birds outright or chase them away from their nests or eggs. 

Although it’s not common, there have been cases where squirrels have attacked live songbirds in the wild! Squirrels eat a variety of small animals, but they mainly hunt for food that is easy to grab and carry away.

Small Birds That Squirrels Eat

Squirrels eat a variety of small birds, including chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and titmice. These birds can be challenging to spot since their quick and agile runners.

Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs and Baby Birds

Gray squirrels are omnivores and will therefore eat eggs and baby birds if they find them. However, this is not their main diet as gray squirrels feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, bird eggs, and baby birds, which are rarer food items for them.

Baby birds are especially vulnerable to attack because they’re not as strong as adults and don’t have the same defenses. So if you see a baby bird being attacked, intervene quickly and call for help if necessary.

In addition, squirrels will eat eggs if they find them in the nest or on the ground. So, feed your birds sparingly and feed them from inside the feeder. If you’re worried about squirrels, consider installing a bird feeder in a different location.

Squirrels Eating Birds by Type

Red Squirrels

Though eggs and nestlings are red squirrels’ favorite food items, they will also consume adult birds if they find them. Red squirrels are opportunistic predators that eat anything available to them. 

It is not common for red squirrels to raid bird nests for eggs or chicks, but it does happen from time to time in nature. So yes, while red squirrels may not typically feed on baby birds directly, they occasionally attack and kill these helpless creatures when there’s nothing else to catch!

Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels will eat eggs and baby birds, which is not something that happens commonly, but it does happen from time to time. The reason why they do this is that flying squirrels scavenge food from the ground. Remember that flying squirrels are the ones that have a reputation for being the most opportunistic feeders. 

Black Squirrels

Black squirrels do consume bird eggs and young chicks. This happens mainly due to the diet of the particular squirrel – some will feed primarily on bird eggs while others may not bother with them at all. 

Reasons Squirrels Eat Birds

Red squirrel sitting on the tree

Squirrels may eat birds for several reasons. First, if a squirrel has young ones at home, it may be trying to protect them by eating birds. They may eat bird eggs or scavenge food from the ground. 

Abundance and Ease

Squirrels are fast and agile mammals that make it difficult for the birds to fight back. They are good at catching prey because they have sharp teeth, quick reflexes, and a tail that helps them balance while hunting.

You may have seen squirrels chasing birds around – this is their way of eating them! The bird gets agitated and starts flying away, which makes the squirrel easier to catch as it runs after it with its mouth open wide! The hunt is almost over if they can catch one or more birds at once. 

Food Scarcity

People conjecture that when food is scarce in the winter, squirrels resort to eating birds as their primary source of sustenance. Typically, they eat smaller birds if they can’t find anything else to eat. 

Squirrels’ diet changes depending on what’s in the area. Squirrels can be entirely opportunistic feeders and will go for any available bird. This means that birds trapped in trees near squirrels often end up being eaten. 

Squirrels can digest bird flesh better than other animals, which is why their population has increased over the years. The high protein content in bird meat makes it a perfect food source for these rodents.

How to Protect Your Backyard Birds and Your Birdhouses

Ensure that your bird feeders and birdhouses are safe so the birds can feed without fear of squirrels. Additionally, squirrels can be a nuisance in and around birdhouses, so be sure to take action if you see any signs of squirrel activity. Finally, clean your bird feeder and birdhouse feeder regularly to keep them free of squirrels and other pests.

Stop Squirrels From Eating Bird Feed

One way to protect birds is to feed them in a container. This way, squirrels can’t access the food, and the birds don’t have to fight for food. Another way to keep squirrels away is to ensure the feed is tightly sealed so they can’t get their hands on it. 

Additionally, ensure the feeder is elevated, so the birds have enough space to fly away if they feel threatened. Last but not least, use bird-safe seed and make sure your feeder is kept clean, so squirrels don’t get used to being around it.

Should You Feed Squirrels to Protect Birds?

While it’s tempting to feed squirrels to protect birds, it’s important not to do so in a harmful way. Overfeeding squirrels can lead to obesity and health problems, while feed that’s too easy to access can attract other pests and rodents. 

Instead, feed squirrels a small amount of food once a week, and ensure the food is stored correctly, so it doesn’t attract other animals. If you feed squirrels, make sure you do it in a way that’s fun for them and doesn’t disrupt their natural behavior.

The Best Way to Repel Squirrels

Some deterrents, such as scare devices or bird feeders away from the house, can be very effective. Scare devices, such as noisemakers or bright lights, can terrify squirrels and may scare them away for good. 

Other deterrents, such as a strong fence, may be too expensive or inconvenient for some. So it’s important to experiment until you find one that works best for you.