If you have squirrels in your yard, you may always be worried that one of their predators will make them or their kids a meal at some time. This is nature’s circle of life, and there must always be a predator sitting above the squirrel in the food chain, ready to eat your squirrels at any time.
But do the crows eat squirrels? Yes, crows are one of the predators that eat squirrels. These birds are omnivorous and opportunistic hunters and will eat squirrels whenever they get a chance. However, they may be unable to hunt adult squirrels because they tend to evade or outrun them easily. They’ll chase the smaller, young squirrels or eat the dead squirrels.
The following guide dives deeper into more details on crows eating squirrels. We have covered more information about crows eating squirrels, how crows kill squirrels, and other helpful info you need to know about these two animals.
Do crows eat squirrels?
As we have just said above, crows do eat squirrels! While adult crows don’t actively hunt squirrels compared to birds like the owls, they’re opportunistic omnivores. They will attack and eat these small rodents whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Hunting squirrels may also not be easy crows (they’re not as efficient hunters as the owls). Thus, they’re two primary ways in which these birds eat squirrels.
The first option is where you’ll mostly find them eating dead squirrels as they’re more opportune and less dangerous to get their hands on. The dead animal is not that hard to come by for the crows.
Whether from roadkill by vehicles or a leftover carcass from other predators such as hawks, the dead adult squirrels make an easy meal since they don’t have to fight or chase it to kill and eat it.
The other easy option for them is to eat the baby squirrels left unattended by their parents and defenseless.
The adult squirrels, however, tend to easily outrun or evade them—making it a harder kill for them.
But at times, a murder of crows will take it upon themselves to bully and harass predators such as hawks in an attempt to steal a fresh squirrel kill from them. This further shows their opportunistic hunting behavior.
All in all, baby squirrels remain the primary target for hawks for hungry crows due to their small size and their inability to defend themselves.
The birds are brilliant in their hunting and know the perfect time to raid the rodents’ nests—when the parents have left their young ones in the nest unattended to.
How does a crow kill a squirrel?
A crow attacks a squirrel by landing on its back and then perching on its neck until it dies…or runs away, sometimes! Note that crows usually perform this kind of attack when they’re in a group (known as a murder of crows), giving them an edge over a squirrel.
If the crows get lucky enough to kill the squirrel, they’ll pick up the dead meat and fly away. They’ll do this to go and feed their young ones or to keep it for later.
Sometimes, these birds also raid the nests of mother squirrels. How? Once they locate the nest, they first need to eliminate the adult squirrel’s threat by harassing and exciting to attack them. During this time, 1-2 members of the murder will be raiding the nest for the squirrel’s kids.
But if the squirrels happen to be around when the crows are taking on their young ones, they tend to fight back. Yes, the small rodents are not that friendly after all! Even the crows sometimes take their fight to the adult squirrel.
But because they are almost the same size, they leave each other alone.
Not just when defending their babies, squirrels can also show even more aggressiveness toward these birds when they persistently heckle them.
Also read: Are Crows Nocturnal?
Do squirrels protect their babies?
We have mentioned that crows, being opportunistic feeders, will always target baby squirrels because they’re defenseless and make for an easy kill.
But will the mother squirrels protect their babies in the event of an attack by crows?
Any mother would protect her baby from impending danger, and these little critters are no exception!
The mama squirrel is fiercely protective of its young one. She displays aggression against the attacker by flicking her tail in a back and forth motion. The mothers usually do this when their babies let out high-pitched distress calls.
This is bad news for the crow attacking the youngling as it will be in serious trouble. The mother will leap at the crow and claw, scratch, or bite the crow trying to take away her babies. These attacks will leave the bird injured.
Sometimes, the mother squirrel will attempt to move its babies away from the perceived danger.
Do crows get along with squirrels?
Crows and different species of squirrels don’t generally get along well. Although there are many reasons why the former will attack the latter, the primary reason why crows will be hostile to squirrels is that they view them as competitors for the available resources, including food and shelter. Or as a threat to their eggs.
That said, you might expect your backyard crows to go along well with these rodents most of the time. As most bird watchers agree, the two animals tend to peacefully coexist unless one party is provoked or feels threatened.
Generally, you’d expect the crows to attack the squirrels. And there are several reasons why they may do this, as explained below:
Food: As we’ve stated above, one of the main reasons why cows turn hostile to a squirrel is over food. These opportunistic omnivores have an appetite for pretty much everything they find, including the foods eaten by squirrels such as nuts, seeds, fruits, small insects, etc. For this reason, they may view the furry little creatures as competition and attempt to drive them away.
Territory protection: Crows will also attack adult squirrels as they try to defend their territory. You may not know this, but these birds are highly territorial. They will quickly launch attacks on any introducers entering their territory or posing a threat to their nests. Squirrels are a perfect example of such intruders.
Protecting the offspring: Every parent is protective of their young ones, and crows aren’t the exception. The birds of prey may view the intruding squirrels as a threat to their baby crows, leaving them with no choice but to attack and chase them away. This is a justified attack, given that these rodents will eat the crow eggs when they get a chance.
As a pet owner, you might wonder if there’s a way you can stop these attacks of crows on the squirrels. Unfortunately, you cannot. This is because this is simply an instinctual behavior pattern passed down the generations.
The good thing, however, is that you can reduce the predation and attack risk by implementing a few steps. For instance, if you have installed a bird feeder in your yard, you’d want to ensure it’s always well-stocked with food. This will ensure the crows and other birds don’t compete for resources with the local squirrels.
Another way to minimize the crow-squirrel attacks is to ensure your feeders are squirrel-proof. This helps greatly reduce the chances of the two fighting over the easy food source.
Squirrels are generally not afraid of crows. The two tend to coexist peacefully unless one party feels threatened over a common food source or location. In most cases, the crows feel threatened by squirrels because they view them as a competition for resources and would even become hostile towards them. The only time a squirrel will likely become afraid of crows is if it has been harassed or attacked by them before.
Yes, crows are opportunistic hunters and scavengers. They will always opt for easy food, including those dead squirrels by the road or those left over by predators like hawks. Sometimes, they can even wrestle a fresh squirrel off the predators.
However, they’re less inclined to hunt live adult squirrels because they don’t have adaptations for hunting like large, sharp talons and curved beaks like those found in hawks and owls. They’re also not that large and powerful enough to carry adult squirrels after killing them.
A squirrel doesn’t eat a crow. However, it will eat its eggs when it gets the chance. Remember, these rodents are generally notorious for raiding birds’ nests and feasting on their eggs, including those of crows.
Crows will eat squirrels when an opportunity presents itself. But they don’t actively hunt these rodents and will mainly eat a dead squirrel. They’ll also target young squirrels since they’re also an easier option.
However, hunting healthy adult squirrels takes effort, and it’s hard to see the birds pursuing them. They also lack adaptations for hunting, like those found in owls and hawks. Sometimes, the crows can get bold enough and take the fresh kill from predators like hawks.
We now hope you’re fully informed on whether crows eat squirrels and what may cause the birds to attack these little furry creatures.