do black squirrels eat birds

One year during the spring nesting season, I noticed a sparrow making soft alarm calls and following a squirrel around the forest.

Of course, I became instantly fascinated as to why this was happening, and it got me wondering whether squirrels ever steal and eat bird eggs.

As it turns out, squirrels do eat bird eggs when they have the opportunity. If a squirrel locates an active nest, they will climb up and steal eggs while the parent birds are away.

However squirrels are not actually vegetarians! Squirrels are omnivores and eat everything from plants & insects to bird eggs & sometimes even meat.

So I did a quick check to see just how common egg stealing is amongst squirrels and found that pretty much every type of squirrel can at times be observed hunting bird eggs including:

Each of these different squirrels will all occasionally eat bird eggs when the opportunity is present.

So let’s take a closer look at what’s happening with this surprising and misunderstood area of squirrel behavior.

Why Do Squirrels Eat Bird Eggs?

Squirrels eat bird eggs because they are opportunistic foragers. This means that making the most of every opportunity to obtain food, including stealing eggs, is a key component of their survival strategy.

For omnivores such as squirrels, opportunistic feeding is a very common trait because it allows them to supplement their diet with whatever is most readily available.

Eggs provide a multitude of advantages that squirrels may derive from consuming them. Some of the most likely reasons include:

  • women who are expecting
  • Bird eggs can serve as a supplement for certain food sources that may be deficient in locally rare minerals like calcium, phosphorus, or nitrogen.
  • When food is scarce during certain seasons, squirrels may be more inclined to take advantage of an abundance of eggs.
  • Simply put, some habitats may make it simpler for squirrels to find nests.

Even though there’s still plenty to learn, it’s safe to assume that everything here stems from the frequently overlooked fact that squirrels are opportunistic rodents that share many biological similarities with rats.

One of the causes of rodents’ widespread presence on farms where hens are raised

As demonstrated in the video below, squirrels will, incidentally, climb into chicken coops to steal eggs, just like rats do.

Is It Possible That Squirrels Just LOVE To Steal?

The fact that many squirrels consider stealing to be almost a daily part of life is another intriguing aspect of the reason why they steal eggs.

There was a funny study published in 2005 in the journal of mammalogy measuring how much food squirrels were stealing from other squirrels.

It was demonstrated that even after gathering enough food to last the entire winter, some squirrels would still venture outside and steal as much as 0% of other squirrels’ cones!

It was discovered that squirrels took, on average, 25% of all the cones that they ate from other squirrels. That’s a whole lot of stealing!.

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. When given an easy choice, they will eat foods that are not part of their usual diet. Squirrels find it easy to prey on baby birds that have just flown or are still in the nest. These defenseless birds provide squirrels with quick access to calcium, protein, and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. It is a grisly fact that baby birds will be eaten by squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals.

do black squirrels eat birds

Red squirrels often invade birds that nest in conifers in the Rocky Mountains. When they first fledge, baby mountain chickadees, like the one shown above, have difficulty flying. They struggle to get away from acrobatic mammalian predators like squirrels until they master flying.

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A squirrel is seen in the video below gobbling up what looks to be a tiny songbird. Please use your best judgment as some viewers may find the video graphic.

Which Birds Are Most At Risk From Squirrels?

Generally speaking, young birds will always be most vulnerable to squirrel attacks. This particularly applies to birds that are still in the egg or nestling stage.

Additionally, it has been noted that birds with any of the following traits may be more vulnerable to squirrel predation:

  • birds that build their nests above ground in areas of open forests with little shrubbery
  • Birds that build their nests in tree forks, particularly high in the canopy (which may make it easier for squirrels to find their nests)
  • Birds that build their nests in areas where squirrel populations are denser
  • Birds that build their nests in areas where squirrels have fewer alternative food sources
  • birds that build their nests in areas where songbird populations are denser
  • Birds that build their nests in areas where songbird food is scarcer (meaning they will have less time to spend

These observations come from a fascinating study on grey squirrels back in 2003 which sought to help predict the most vulnerable bird species based on their nesting habitats.

It has been noted that not all songbirds are equally impacted by squirrel nest predation.

Some songbird species appear to be at very little risk from squirrels, whereas other species—such as the canopy-dwelling Chaffinch and Hawfinch described in the previous article—seem to be at considerable risk.


Do squirrels eat bird?

Yes, they do. Squirrels are omnivores, and while most of their diet is comprised of seeds, nuts, shoots, and fruit, they will also eat insects, eggs, nestling birds, and yes, the occasional fledgling or even adult bird as well.

What are black squirrels favorite food?

Black squirrels will eat anything they are offered, often feeding on nuts and acorns, any kind of seed, fruit, insects, and even bird eggs.

Are squirrels aggressive towards birds?

Squirrels are everywhere, and they’re agile hungry little creatures. They can also be aggressive towards birds. Once they realize that you’re the generous one in the neighborhood, they’ll never forget where to find food. Unless, of course, you outsmart them.

Do squirrels and birds get along?

Squirrels tend to occupy similar environments to many songbirds but do not follow them or interact with them. As the authors write, “they do not have ‘tight’ ecological relationships with them.”