close up photo of squirrel on grass

Do Squirrels Destroy Bird Nests?

Yes, squirrels can destroy bird nests.

Squirrels are known to be opportunistic creatures that often raid bird nests for various reasons. This article will explore the relationship between squirrels and bird nests, discussing the reasons behind their behavior and potential preventive measures to protect bird nests from squirrel damage.

Why Do Squirrels Target Bird Nests?

Squirrels primarily target bird nests for the following reasons:

  • Food: Squirrels are omnivores and will eat a wide range of food, including bird eggs and nestlings. Bird nests provide an easily accessible source of food for squirrels.
  • Shelter: Squirrels may use bird nests as temporary shelters, especially during harsh weather conditions or when they need a safe place to rest.
  • Material: Squirrels often dismantle bird nests to collect nesting materials such as twigs, leaves, and feathers for their own nests.

Signs of Squirrel Damage to Bird Nests

It’s important to be able to identify signs of squirrel damage to bird nests. Some common indicators include:

Signs of Squirrel DamageDescription
Nest DestructionSquirrels may dismantle or completely destroy bird nests, scattering the materials around the area.
Egg or Nestling LossSquirrels may consume bird eggs or nestlings, leaving behind empty shells or evidence of predation.
Missing Nesting MaterialsIf you notice a sudden shortage of twigs, leaves, or feathers in the vicinity of a bird nest, squirrels may be responsible.

Preventing Squirrel Damage to Bird Nests

While it may be challenging to completely eliminate squirrel activity near bird nests, there are several preventive measures you can take:

1. Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Invest in squirrel-proof bird feeders that are designed to prevent squirrels from accessing the bird food. These feeders often have mechanisms that close off access when a squirrel’s weight is detected.

2. Physical Barriers

Use physical barriers such as wire mesh or netting to protect bird nests. Ensure that the barriers are properly installed and cover the entire nest area, preventing squirrels from reaching the nest or stealing nesting materials.

3. Nest Placement

Consider the location of bird nests when placing them. Choose spots that are difficult for squirrels to access, such as high branches or areas away from trees that squirrels can climb.

4. Distract Squirrels

Provide alternative food sources for squirrels away from bird nests. This can help divert their attention and reduce the likelihood of them targeting bird nests.

5. Trim Tree Branches

Trim tree branches that are close to bird nests. By removing potential pathways, you can make it more challenging for squirrels to reach the nests.


Squirrels can indeed destroy bird nests, posing a threat to the eggs and nestlings within. Understanding the reasons behind squirrel behavior and implementing preventive measures can help protect bird nests from squirrel damage. By taking proactive steps, you can create a safer environment for birds to nest and raise their young.

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