If you are often visited by squirrels, you may be wondering whether squirrels eat bird eggs. Squirrels are omnivores. This means they mainly survive on plant materials and, as you probably already know, love to eat nuts and seeds from bird feeders. However, being omnivores also means that they’re opportunistic feeders. This means that they’ll eat a variety of foods to get a balanced diet. This includes meat and also bird eggs.
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.
- 1 Why Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
- 2 Tips To Keep Squirrels Away From Your Birdhouses
- 2.1 1. Make It Difficult For Squirrels To Reach The Eggs In The Birdhouse
- 2.2 2. Attach A Long Narrow Tube To The Opening In The Birdhouse
- 2.3 3. Get A Squirrel Baffle For Your Birdhouse
- 2.4 4. Consider The Placement Of Your Birdhouse
- 2.5 5. Increase The Size Of The Roof On Your Birdhouse
- 2.6 6. Keep The Squirrels Fed So They’re Not Tempted To Steal Bird Eggs
- 2.7 7. Keeping Squirrels Out Of Your Yard
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
Why Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?
Like all animals in the wild, squirrels must forage for their food so they can survive to see another day. And, they aren’t particularly fussy eaters.
The main diet of a squirrel consists of acorns, pine cones, flowers, tree bark and other types of nuts and seeds. However, if there’s a large population of squirrels in one area, these food sources may become scarce and there might not be enough to go around.
When that happens, the squirrels have to adapt and source other types of food. Generally, bird eggs are easy pickings for squirrels because they can easily access the nests.
Another reason that squirrels may eat bird eggs instead of other available food sources is that the eggs may be easier to find if there’s an abundance of nests in any one season. Just like humans like to order takeaway instead of cooking, squirrels will take advantage of food that is easy to find and procure.
So, if squirrels are a problem for the birds who are nesting in your garden, how do you keep them away? Here are 7 tips to keep squirrels away from your garden and especially your birdhouses.
Tips To Keep Squirrels Away From Your Birdhouses
Here are some tips to protect the birds nesting in your yard from scavenging squirrels. You might like to try a combination of these to ensure that the baby birds are safe and get to enjoy a full life.
1. Make It Difficult For Squirrels To Reach The Eggs In The Birdhouse
Generally, you’ll find that a lot of commercially available birdhouses have large openings to allow different types of birds easy access. However, if the birds nesting in your yard are small, you could easily decrease the size of the opening so that squirrels simply cannot get in to steal the eggs.
There are numerous ways you can make the birdhouse opening smaller. Just use what you have available to reduce the size of the entry. Make sure it’s still large enough for the birds to get in but too small to allow a squirrel easy access.
2. Attach A Long Narrow Tube To The Opening In The Birdhouse
Because squirrels are much larger than a lot of birds that may be nesting in your birdhouse, attaching a long narrow tube to the opening is a good idea.
The tube should be large enough for the parent birds to walk through but not large enough for a squirrel. Also, make sure the length of the tube is longer than the length of a squirrel’s arm. This means that the squirrels are unable to reach in and grab the eggs.
3. Get A Squirrel Baffle For Your Birdhouse
Squirrel baffles are designed to make it very difficult for squirrels to get into or even onto the birdhouse. They are also quite commonly used to keep squirrels out of bird feeders.
If your birdhouse is mounted on a pole, you can easily mount a squirrel baffle below it. This effectively stops the squirrels from being able to climb up the pole to access the birdhouse.
For hanging birdhouses, you can get squirrel baffles that have a pointy spire on top. This means that the squirrels aren’t able to access your birdhouse by jumping onto it from nearby tree branches.
If you really want to be sure, you might want to attach a baffle both to the top and below the birdhouse for those that are mounted on a pole.
4. Consider The Placement Of Your Birdhouse
The best way to ensure that squirrels can’t get into your birdhouse is to place it in the middle of your yard on a pole. The birdhouse should be at least five feet off the ground. This means that the squirrels can’t easily jump onto the birdhouse from overhanging or nearby tree branches.
In fact, did you know that squirrels can jump at least four feet into the air? Plus, they can jump up to ten feet horizontally. Therefore, you want to make sure that there are no easy access points for them to use to jump across to the birdhouse.
Make sure that you have a squirrel baffle attached under your birdhouse so that the squirrels can’t climb up from underneath.
5. Increase The Size Of The Roof On Your Birdhouse
If your birdhouse has a really large roof with a “veranda” overhanging the opening, the squirrels won’t be able to reach into the opening to grab the eggs. This is similar to attaching a squirrel baffle to the top of the birdhouse.
In the same vein, remove any perches from the exterior of the birdhouse as these can allow easy access for the squirrels.
6. Keep The Squirrels Fed So They’re Not Tempted To Steal Bird Eggs
Squirrels that have easy access to food are unlikely to forage around for bird eggs to steal. Therefore, you might like to set up one or more squirrel feeding stations around your yard to keep the squirrel population happy.
It’s best to have your squirrel feeders on a low platform close to the ground so that the squirrels can easily find them. Keep these feeders well away from your birdhouse and your bird feeders.
Because squirrels are active during the day, make sure the feeders are out and full during daylight hours. Then, you might like to bring them in at night to prevent raccoons and other nocturnal animals from stealing the food.
Bear in mind that you only need to feed the squirrels during nesting season unless you want to at other times of the year.
7. Keeping Squirrels Out Of Your Yard
If you really want to try and keep squirrels out of your yard entirely, here are a few things you can try:
- Consider getting a dog if you don’t already have one.
- Sprinkle a mixture of red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and paprika around your garden. Squirrels really hate these foods and their strong smell.
- Don’t have any food available for them. If you have bird feeders, you can get “hot” birdseed that contains pepper. The birds are oblivious to the pepper but the squirrels hate it.
- Mulch your garden heavily so that squirrels won’t be tempted to dig for bulbs. Plus, if you use gravel or decorative stones, the squirrels will have a hard time trying to bury their “loot”.
- Use netting around your vegetable garden and fruit trees to limit access for the squirrels. If there’s no easy access to food, the squirrels will quickly go elsewhere.
- Install some motion-activated sprinklers. The sensors on these sprinklers will detect any squirrels moving around and the squirrels will not appreciate the constant showering.
- Place some pots of mint in strategic spots around your garden. Squirrels don’t like the smell of peppermint and this is likely to keep them away. Just be sure to check that the mint doesn’t escape from the pots because it will likely take over your garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have squirrels been known to kill baby birds?
In normal conditions squirrels will generally not kill baby birds. But, if there’s a shortage in their food supply, squirrels may eat baby birds as well as bird eggs.
Do squirrels bother birds?
If squirrels are visiting your bird feeders, they can scare away the birds and eat all the food themselves. That’s why it’s important to squirrel-proof your feeders.
What will scare squirrels away?
If you have a lot of squirrels invading your garden, you can scare them away with strong scents such as pepper and garlic. They also don’t like sweet smells such as peppermint.
In general, squirrels are fairly harmless little animals that are fascinating to watch. However, if there’s not enough food around, they do and will eat bird eggs as well as baby birds.
Follow our handy tips to keep squirrels away from your birdhouses to keep the eggs safe so they can hatch and grow to live a full life. You can easily adapt your birdhouse by reducing the size of the opening, increasing the size of the roof and installing squirrel baffles.
Another idea is to put out squirrel feeders. If the squirrels are well fed, they’re unlikely to go hunting for bird nests to steal the eggs. But, if you want to keep squirrels out of your yard totally, we’ve given you a few handy tips that you might like to try.