You might already know that foxes and snakes eat bird eggs, and some birds do it too – but do squirrels eat bird eggs?
Also, you might wonder, do squirrels eat baby birds too?
In this post, you will get answers to all your questions regarding squirrels, birds, and bird eggs.
So, keep reading!
Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Taking about the diet of squirrels, their diet mainly consists of nuts, fruits, and veggies. Some squirrels are omnivores, which means they can eat both meat and vegetables. Also, there are very few carnivorous squirrels, and they eat mainly meat.
Now, many squirrel species eat bird eggs. Chipmunk and ground squirrels eat bird eggs too to include some protein in their diet.
Did you know that bird eggshells contain calcium that is exceptionally beneficial for squirrels?
And, as squirrels have small bodies and high speed, they can easily steal bird eggs!
Do Red Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
You can differentiate this species of squirrels by their reddish-grey coat. They have creamy white underbellies. Also, there is a touch of white around their eyes. If you look at tree squirrels, you will see that they have a long, bushy tail, right? But the red squirrels are not like that. They have less fluffy and shorter tails.
Red squirrels are carnivores which suggest that meat is their primary food. They eat bird eggs very often. And if they get a baby bird, they will feed on it too. However, when it comes to getting food, this type of squirrel becomes vicious. They are expert nest robbers, and they spend their time foraging.
Do Grey Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Grey squirrels are well known for their bold eating habits. It is common for them to eat dead birds. However, they will prey on alive birds if they get a chance. Also, they are quite expert nest raiders. And because of that, they feed on bird eggs a lot.
Grey squirrels are savvy foragers. When it comes to food, they eat anything that comes their way.
Now, let us tell you an interesting fact about grey squirrels.
There can be times when grey squirrels eat fellows of their own species.
Yes, studies have proved that!
If they eat their mates from their own species, do you think they will leave a bird egg?
They have silver-grey coats, with their faces leaning on the brown side.
You can find them nibbling on hazelnuts and cones. But, of course, they eat meat too.
Bonus Read: What to Feed Squirrels in Your Garden?
Do Flying Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Compared to most other species of squirrels, flying squirrels have smaller bodies.
Including their tails and heads, the size of their bodies doesn’t cross ten inches. They have two skin folds between their rear and front legs. Because of this, they are pretty fast in getting food for themselves.
Similar to red squirrels, flying squirrels have white underbellies too. In addition, they have a soft brown coat covering their bodies.
This species of squirrels are generally vegetarian. They feed on nuts, veggies, fruits, and loads of berries.
But hey, they are opportunist eaters. This means, if they see a bird egg, they will eat it. And they see it a lot – all thanks to their high speeds and jumping habits!
Now, what if flying squirrels come across a baby bird whose nest has no protection?
Well, they will eat it too!
Do Squirrels Eat Baby Birds?
As you already know, squirrels eat bird eggs. So, the chances are that they can also eat the baby birds, right?
To some extent, it’s right. However, this is not always the case.
At times, squirrels do steal the nestlings of birds when they get the chance. And, naturally, they will eat the baby birds inside too. But this happens only when the mother bird is away.
Because when the mother bird is there in the nest protecting its babies, squirrels don’t go there. After all, they are stealthy little animals!
Many people think that squirrels are adorable little creatures that feed on nuts as they are vegetarians. But that is not the case. If they somehow manage to get their hands on an active nest, they can become quite vicious while feeding on it.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Squirrels get several benefits from having eggs in their diet. Some of them are:
- There might be a lack of essential minerals such as phosphorus, nitrogen, or calcium in their regular food sources. And bird eggs have all these nutrients!
- New mothers and pregnant female squirrels have some extra dietary needs because of which they might eat bird eggs for high levels of protein.
- Suppose there are seasonal lacks in their regular availability of food. In that case, squirrels get motivated to take advantage of situations with an abundant supply of bird eggs.
Which Birds are at Most Risks From Squirrels?
Generally, baby birds are always the most at risk from squirrels. This is especially true for birds that are in their nestling phase or still in the egg.
Also, the birds might be at risk if they nest:
Also, the birds might be at risk if they nest:
- In places that do have not many alternative food sources for squirrels
- In places where the squirrels have higher population densities
- In places that have a lot of songbirds
- In the canopy or the fork of the tress as this will make it easier for squirrels to find it
- In open forest habitats, above the ground with little to no shrubby cover
- In places where there are fewer food sources for songbirds. In that case, the songbirds will have less energy and time to protect their nests for defense.
Do you have a squirrel feeder in your yard?
Then the chances are that you don’t have to worry about squirrels stealing eggs from the birdhouses!