Think again if you believe that squirrels only favor acorns and nuts because things are unpredictable in the wild. People often wonder if squirrels eat bird eggs or not, and we are going to dig deeper into that today. There are a few things that you want to do if you have birdhouses in the yard. Animals eat each other in the wild, but there are many other things that you probably don’t know about. So let’s talk some more about squirrels and see if I answer all questions you have about them.
Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
First of all, squirrels are omnivores so they consume both meat and plants. That also includes bird eggs and even birds, if there are opportunities for them to do so. It is not uncommon for squirrels to raid bird nests in trees for eggs or baby birds. Sometimes they also steal eggs from chicken coops since eggs are a natural part of their diet. Simply put, squirrels eat almost anything but you are likely to see them with nuts and other plants. That is because those fruits and plants can be kept long-term, and these critters love to stock food for winter. There are certain squirrel species that eat bird and bird eggs that you should know. Some of those species are black squirrels, flying squirrels, gray squirrels, ground squirrels, and red squirrels.
FAQ1: Do Squirrels Eat Birds?
Yes, they do. The thing is that they are not quick enough to attack or ambush birds or other animals. As opportunistic eaters, squirrels will take advantage of any maimed, trapped, weak, or dead birds that they can easily consume. When they raid bird nests, they will eat baby birds that are too small to defend themselves. Squirrels will scramble away when the parents come, it is not that they would stay and fight for the live meal. Apart from birds or baby birds, squirrels also eat baby bunnies and other smaller animals that they can.
FAQ2: How to Stop Squirrels From Eating Bird Eggs?
Normally, one of the main reasons that make squirrels raid and eat bird eggs are because of hunger. So when food is not abundant during nesting season, make sure to give them some. You can install a squirrel feeder somewhere close to their trees that are further from your birdhouses. When squirrels have access to acorns and nuts, they will not pay attention to the bird eggs at all. It is going to work because squirrels always prefer herbivore diets since they can store them longer as food supply.
Another reason is that squirrels can easily climb trees to quickly steal some eggs is not too difficult for them. Things are the same with your birdhouses because it is possible that squirrels can easily climb up there too. If you know that there are squirrels in your area, you should get a squirrel-proof birdhouse in advance. When this is not the case, then you will have to squirrel-proof the birdhouse by yourself. The first method is making the poles difficult for them to climb. Grease the pole, and it will be too slippery for the squirrels to climb. You can also add a metal ring around the entrance to make it difficult for them to get in. Either way is effective, and the decision is all yours.
FAQ3: Do Squirrels Bother Birds?
Even when not raiding, squirrels can still bother and harm birds during their feeding times. Because both birds and squirrels love bird seeds, they often fight over this delicious food. Birds will fly away from squirrels, and this gives these critters the opportunity to get all the food. Sometimes squirrels become aggressive and scare the birds away from the bird feeders then take over the feeders. If the bird feeder is large enough, the squirrel will just sit in there and keep eating all the bird food. When this bothersome action repeats, the birds will no longer visit your garden or yard.
FAQ4: What Birds Are Vulnerable to Squirrels?
There are several birds that squirrels tend to target the most. All of these birds nest in tree canopies which is easy for the squirrels to access and raid. The birds that are vulnerable to squirrels are blackbirds, chaffinches, collared doves, hawfinches, and Harris’s sparrows. Apart from these, other birds that nest in tree canopies can also fall prey to these rodents. As long as the nests are not of scary raptors, the squirrels will take their chance.
FAQ5: What Birds Are Squirrels Afraid of?
Raptors. Raptors are the types of birds that squirrels are afraid of, and the top ones are eagles, hawks, and owls. Among these 3, squirrels are afraid of owls the most probably because of their appearance and fierceness of the owls. Larger owls will hunt and eat squirrels, and maybe their instinct tells them to steer clear from these ferocious raptors. Specifically, barred owls and great horned owls are the typical owl species that eat squirrels. Normally, squirrels prefer to avoid and stay away from owls no matter what. So if you want to keep squirrels away from your gardens, yards, or birdhouses, get some owl decoys. This is an easy and helpful solution, and it definitely works because squirrels will never dare to come close to owls.
How To Get Rid of Squirrels?
It could be difficult to keep the squirrels out when your environmental conditions are favorable for them. When there are big trees, chances are squirrels will also be there. Maybe it is not easy to completely get rid of them, but you can keep them away from your birdhouses. I would suggest a few things that you can do including:
- Eliminate standing water
- Remove their food sources
- Repair cracks and holes in the fence or wall
- Seal trash cans
- Trim tree branches
- Use ultrasound squirrel deterrent
The above tips can help with keeping the squirrels from entering your property and cause damages. I understand that it is not going to completely get rid of them, but at least it will discourage them from coming. If you want to keep squirrels out of your garden, check out our previous piece of advice about keepig squirrels away from your garden.
How To Keep Squirrels Away From Birdhouses
You have to protect your birds and their babies from squirrels if you have birdhouses on your property. It is uncertain when the squirrels around the areas decide to raid the birdhouse and attack the residents inside. To avoid and prevent such tragedy from happening, here are some tips on how to squirrel-proof your birdhouses.
The location of the birdhouse is very important because it determines the safety of the birds inside. Squirrels are smart animals with flexible skills that can climb and jump, so you need the right placement for your birdhouses. So where should you keep your birdhouses? The best location for a birdhouse is in an open space without nearby trees or other higher structures that squirrels can jump from. You should put your birdhouse on a pole at least 5 feet from the ground because squirrels can jump pretty high. Remember that a squirrel can jump at least 4 feet from the ground and around 10 feet horizontally.
2. Small Entrance
If you have small birds, consider getting a birdhouse with entrances that are as small as possible. This is to prevent the squirrels from being able to get in to harm the birds or the eggs inside. It is one of the most effective methods to keep the squirrels out of the birdhouse since they cannot get in. In case your birdhouse has an entrance that a squirrel can squeeze in, you will need to modify that entrance. An easy way to make an entrance smaller is by attaching a piece of wood over the original entrance. Create a smaller entrance on that piece of wood, and simply install it using carpenter glue or nails. You can also do the same with a thin sheet of metal to prevent the squirrels from chewing through.
3. Squirrel Baffle
The awesome thing about squirrel baffles is that you can use them with both bird feeders and birdhouses. It is a barrier that comes in a cone or dome shape that blocks squirrels from gaining access. Squirrel baffles come in different types of materials that you can choose from such as metal or plastic. Many of them look very nice, adding an extra nice look to bird feeders or birdhouses on top of the protection. If you choose the right design, a squirrel baffle can also protect the birds or food from harsh weather conditions too. It is easy to find, and the price is also affordable while the effectiveness is satisfying.
4. Squirrel Feeder
Like I mentioned above, squirrels will attack and raid a bird’s nest if it is hungry. So you can easily solve this problem by putting up some squirrel feeders around the house. The key is to put treats that squirrels like in the feeders so that they will focus only on the feeders. You can place the feeder close to the ground so that the squirrels can easily spot and collect the food. Another good place to install a squirrel feeder on the fence, and the food is safe from other critters too. The advice when you give them food is to bring back the food at night. This is to prevent mice or raccoons from coming and taking all the squirrel food.
How To Feed Birds Without Attracting Squirrels
Peanuts and sunflowers are the favorite treats that squirrels love to eat, and they are for squirrel feeders. Things are different when you want to feed only the birds without attracting squirrels to the bird feeders. You can do so by choosing the bird seeds that squirrels (and probably other birds) don’t like to eat for the feeders. What you should do is filling the bird feeders with a single of any of the seeds below.
1. Niger Seeds
This type of seed attracts goldfinches and siskins, but not appealing to squirrels even one bit. Niger seeds are high in oil, and they are great nutritious sources of energy for garden birds. These seeds are solely for birds, and stocking the bird feeders with these also means no squirrels.
2. Safflower Seeds
As for this one, it is the type of seeds that birds such as cardinals, chickadees, and titmouse will eat. So if the birds that you feed are one of those, choose safflower seeds. Squirrels don’t find them tasty, and they will not compete with the birds for these seeds at all. Another thing is that birds like blackbirds and starlings will also not eat these seeds. It simply attracts the right birds while keeping the other birds and squirrels away, convenient as that.
3. White Proso Millet
White proso millet is a small seed that ground-feeding birds like doves, juncos, quails, and sparrows like to eat. This type of seed is ideal for both in the bird feeders and on the ground, and they only attract birds. So if you have ground-feeding birds in the perimeter of your house, this is the seed to choose. You don’t even need a bird feeder for those, just simply scatter them on the ground will do.
Squirrels are rodents that love spending time collecting food supply and eating. Dealing with them can be both difficult and easy since they can be a nuisance sometimes. However, I am sure things will be less challenging with the tips that I suggest above. Your birds will be able to leave in peace while the squirrels will not bother or raid their nests. It is a peaceful way to deal with these critters, and you get to create a nice environment for both of them too.