Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?

Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-sized rodents.

They are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and were introduced by humans to Australia.

Although, we know that snakes and foxes eat bird eggs, and even certain birds do it, like hawks and buzzards, do squirrels eat bird eggs?

To know the answer, keep reading this article where we talked about what needs to be done to keep the squirrels away and explained why squirrels eat bird’s eggs, the type, and their overall food habit.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior

Squirrels are known for their agility, curiosity, and adaptability. Generally, squirrels will adapt to the conditions and food available to them, and so will eat a huge variety of things.

Some of them are omnivores, meaning they can eat both veggies and meat. Occasionally, some squirrels are carnivorous, and their diets mostly consist of meat.

Squirrel’s favorite foods are nuts, seeds, fruit, fungi, grains, vegetables, roots, bulbs, and bark.

squirel

During periods of food scarcity, squirrels might turn to bird eggs more often. In addition to eggs, some squirrels may occasionally prey on baby birds, particularly if they find unprotected or accessible nests.

They are expert foragers and love nothing more than rooting around in the undergrowth for a tasty morsel. Likewise, they are also known for their excellent sense of smell, which helps them locate food sources.

Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?

Yes, squirrels do eat bird eggs. Squirrels are omnivores, which means they eat a variety of food to get a balanced diet.

The bird eggs provide the squirrels with a good dose of calcium that is found in the shells. The inside of the egg also contains fats and proteins that squirrels absolutely love.

However, remember that not all species or individuals within these species will exhibit this behavior. It often depends on the specific circumstances and availability of other food sources.

Factors Influencing Squirrel Diet

Several factors influence the diet of squirrels:

  • Seasonal variations

Squirrel’s diet is significantly influenced by the changing season. During spring, squirrels consume tree buds and flowers, which provide them with vitamins and minerals.

In the summer, squirrels feast on fruit that delivers quick energy. They also consume insects, which are abundant during this season.

When autumn arrives, squirrels focus on gathering and storing nuts for the winter months. These include acorns, hazelnuts, walnuts, and seeds of coniferous trees.

These foods can be stored through the winter in underground food caches. During winter, squirrels rely on their stored food supplies. They consume the nuts and seeds they have hoarded during the autumn.

  • Environmental conditions

Environmental conditions also play a significant role in influencing a squirrel’s diet. Factors such as climate, weather patterns, and habitat type directly impact the availability of food sources.

For instance, in temperate forests, squirrels may have access to a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects during warmer months, but they may need to rely more on stored food or alternative sources in winter when these foods are scarce.

  • Human Influence

Human activities, such as urbanization, deforestation, and agriculture, can impact squirrel habitats and food sources.

For example, squirrels in urban areas may have access to human food sources, while those in deforested areas may have fewer natural food options.

Additionally, the presence of predators and competitors can affect a squirrel’s foraging behavior and food choices.

What Types of Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?

Some of the common squirrel species known to eat bird eggs include:

  • Eastern Gray Squirrels

Found in eastern North America, this species is known to consume bird eggs, generally in urban environments where they may encounter bird nests more frequently.

  • Fox squirrels

Fox squirrels, native to North America, have been observed eating bird eggs, especially in regions where they live alongside bird populations.

Likewise, American robin nests are frequently found and raided by fox squirrels.

  • Red Squirrels

It is found in Europe and parts of Asia. They have been known to raid bird nests for eggs, particularly during times when food sources are scarce.

  • Western Gray squirrel

The species found in the western United States has been observed eating bird eggs, though this behavior may not be as prevalent as in other squirrel species.

  • Southern Flying squirrel

While primarily herbivorous, southern flying squirrels have been known to consume bird eggs opportunistically.

squirrel eating

Tips To Protect Bird Nest From Squirrel

Here are some tips for bird enthusiasts:

1. Protecting birds nests

  • Place bird feeders and birdhouses in locations that are difficult for squirrels to access, such as on poles with squirrel baffles.
  • Use next boxes with small entrances that are too narrow for squirrels to enter.
  • Avoid placing bird feeders near trees or structures that squirrels can climb to reach nests.
  • Monitor bird nests regularly and take action if squirrels are spotted near them.

2. Deterrents for squirrels

  • Use squirrel-proof bird feeders that are designed to prevent squirrels from reaching the food.
  • Provide alternative food sources for squirrels, such as squirrel feeders stocked with nuts or corn.
  • Use physical deterrents such as wire mesh or netting to prevent squirrels from accessing bird nests.
  • Install motion-activated devices that emit sounds or sprays of water to scare squirrels away from bird feeders and nests.

By implementing these measures, bird enthusiasts can help protect bird nests from squirrels while promoting a harmonious coexistence between the two species.

Conclusion

In conclusion, squirrels are fairly harmless little birds that are fascinating to watch. They are known to eat bird eggs.

However, the extent of this behavior can vary depending on factors such as the species of squirrel and the availability of other food sources.

While eating bird eggs is a natural behavior for squirrels, it can have implications for bird populations, especially for species already facing challenges like habitat loss and predation.

Understanding and implementing measures to mitigate between squirrels and birds can help promote coexistence and protect bird nests.

FAQ

Do squirrels eat bird eggs in winter?

Yes, squirrels do eat bird’s eggs, even in winter. As opportunistic omnivores, they adapt their diet based on available food sources. Bird’s eggs provide them with essential nutrients like protein and calcium.

Do all squirrel species eat bird eggs?

While several squirrel species are recognized for eating bird eggs, not all of them demonstrate this behavior. The frequency of squirrels consuming bird eggs can fluctuate depending on factors like their habitat, the availability of food, and the behavioral traits unique to each species.

How do squirrels get to bird eggs?

Squirrels can climb trees and jump from branch to branch to reach bird nests. Additionally, these species are also known to raid bird feeders and birdhouses where nests may be located.

What can be done to prevent squirrels from eating bird eggs?

Using squirrel-proof bird feeders, providing an alternative food source for squirrels, and employing physical deterrents near bird nests can help prevent squirrels from accessing and consuming bird eggs.

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