Do squirrels eat birds?

Updated: Apr 18

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A red squirrel eats on a bird feeder.
Red squirrels, like this adorable individual, can be adventitious predators.

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Will squirrels eat birds?

Want the short, succinct answer? Yes, squirrels will eat birds. Squirrels, like many mammals, are opportunistic omnivores. This means that squirrels typically only eat plant matter, but when presented with the opportunity to get vitamins, minerals, and animal proteins, will take advantage of a vulnerable animal. It is not a pretty thought or sight, but nature is always trending toward disorder and chaos. Such is life... and death.

See? Short and sweet! Unless you have more questions...

Want to keep squirrels off bird feeders?

Check out these "squirrel-proof" bird feeders from Amazon!

Do squirrels eat baby birds?

If you imagine nature as a Disney movie, movie along. If you want the truth, stay right here. As we mentioned above, squirrels are opportunistic omnivores. They eat foods outside of their typical diet when presented with an easy option. Baby birds, in the nest and recently fledged, are easy targets for squirrels. Squirrels see these vulnerable birds as a quick source of calcium, protein, and many other vitamins and minerals. It is a gruesome truth, but yes, squirrels, chipmunks, etc will eat baby birds.

Baby Mountain Chickadee
Baby Mountain Chickadee

Birds that nest in conifers in the Rocky Mountains are frequently invaded by red squirrels. Baby Mountain Chickadees, like the one pictured above, struggle to fly when they initially fledge. Until they perfect flying, they struggle to escape from acrobatic mammalian predators, like squirrels.

See more: Take better bird photos!

The video below shows a squirrel eating what appears to be a small songbird. The video may be graphic to some viewers, so please use your best judgment.

Do squirrels eat bird eggs?

We think you see the trend that is within this post. Do we really need to answer?

Squirrels, chipmunks, and ground squirrels WILL eat bird eggs. Eggshells are especially important for squirrels and other rodents due to the calcium found within the shell. Additionally, the fats and proteins inside the egg are highly desired by squirrels.

American Robin nest
American Robin nest

American Robin nests are frequently found and raided by fox squirrels. In many parts of the country, fox squirrels are actually introduced and can create a problem for local bird populations.

See also: How to deter squirrels

Do other animals eat baby birds and destroy their nests?

Yikes. This post is becoming quite morbid. Dare we continue? In the name of education, I guess we must.

Here is a list of unusual animals commonly found eating or destroying bird eggs and baby birds:

  • Snakes

  • Deer

  • Blue Jays

  • Steller's Jays

  • Parents of the nest

  • Raccoons

  • Ants

  • House Sparrows

  • Common Grackles

  • Brown-headed Cowbirds

  • Woodpeckers

  • House & Feral Cats

Quite a few surprises in that list, eh? Woodpeckers frequently eat the brains of baby birds (crying emoji), and Blue Jays OFTEN are found to pick off poorly fledged birds. What was the biggest surprise for you? Leave a comment in the comment section!

This is a sad post. We need something to cheer us up, so here is a funny bird GIF. Laugh, and remember to trust nature's process.

Want to learn how to deter birds from your bird feeders? Check out our post on squirrel repellant!

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