Last updated on June 18th, 2022
Have you ever seen a broken egg in your backyard and wondered where it came from?
I had usually observed this whenever the robins started nesting in my garden. I always loved to watch these lovely little birds nesting in the more giant trees in my garden and it broke my heart to see their broken nests.
The animals that eat bird eggs are:
- Blue Jays
When I talked about this to a friend of mine who is involved in poultry farming, she smiled and said that my robins are victims of egg predation.
In other words, there are animals in my garden that are specifically targeting the eggs. In most cases, it can be animals like raccoons and squirrels.
She said egg predation is a part of evolution, and that I shouldn’t get disheartened by it. But then we discussed animals that eat bird eggs, and I discovered there are quite a few. Some of the animals that eat bird eggs are as follows:
9 Animals That Eat Bird Eggs:
Raccoons are omnivorous animals, which means they eat plant-based and animal-based food. But raccoons are also scavengers.
Scavengers, not in a sense as crows and vultures are scavengers because raccoons will not eat decomposing food. However, you’ll normally find raccoons around garbage dumps.
If you find your garbage bin overturned and everything is strewn about, then it’s usually the work of a raccoon.
They typically knock over dustbins in search of discarded food, but not decomposing ones. These are the same raccoons that are known to ravage the nests of birds, especially robins.
They’re well-known egg predators known to sometimes roam around suburban areas. One of the reasons raccoons usually hunt eggs is because they’re very small and accessible for them.
A raccoon attack can destroy the nest of a robin, and you’ll find it utterly devoid of any eggs.
Raccoons have strong teeth, and they can easily crack open an egg. They’ll hold the eggs with their fingerlike paws and crack these open with the help of their teeth.
The shells of the eggs don’t pose a threat to the raccoon, and they can easily access the yolk inside.
Therefore if you’ve observed overturned garbage bins followed by broken robin nests and robin eggs in your yard, you can be assured that there has been a visit by raccoons in the night.
Here is a further explanation of raccoons eating eggs.
Crows are also known for their egg predation. These birds are omnivores and scavengers by nature. However, crows are known to be hunters in their own right.
They can carry off baby chicks, nestlings, and eggs, especially ones from birds of smaller size.
The crows are known in the families of Corvidae for their sharp beaks and powerful claws.
Suppose there is a sudden spike in the number of crows in an area, the smaller birds like sparrows, pigeons, robins, and similar birds.
If you’ve built a birdhouse, you must take adequate care to protect the nest in the birdhouse from crow attacks.
You’ll find that crows become aware once the birds have laid the eggs and want to attack the nests.
You’ll have to set up proper fencing to prevent the crow from getting access to the nest in the birdhouse.
Crows carry off the eggs to a different location before breaking the shell since they can easily break the eggs with the help of their sharp beaks to extract yolk inside.
3. Blue Jays
Blue jays are known for egg predation, which often confuses most people because these birds are mostly known for their plant-based diet.
Blue jays are often considered vegetarian birds, but this is a wrong concept as these birds are known to eat small insects, such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles.
These birds belong to the family of Corvidae, and hence, they have a varied diet. Therefore, blue jays are known to be nest thieves, and they often steal the eggs of smaller birds like robins.
Unlike other birds, blue jays will consume the entire egg, including the shells, and they’re known to be quite aggressive when it comes to stealing eggs.
If you’ve observed blue jays in the neighborhood and want to protect a robin’s nest from the attack of blue jays, then you must develop proper protective measures to save the eggs and the nestlings.
For example, you can put baffles around the nest or even up a fence around the nest to prevent more giant birds from entering the nest.
This way, you can protect the robin’s nest, its eggs, and any hatchlings.
Squirrels are omnivores that belong to the rodent family. This means they follow a plant and animal-based diet.
However, we usually associate squirrels with the collection of nuts while storing them inside tree hollows. But squirrels are also known for being notorious raiders of bird nests.
They usually tend to attack the nests of smaller songbirds like robins, thrush, wrens, swallows, sparrows, cardinal, or warblers.
These birds are easily frightened by the larger squirrels, making it easier for the animal to raid their nests.
Squirrels are even known to steal eggs from poultry farms, making farmers quite wary of squirrel attacks.
They can make off with the hen’s eggs, and they can also run off with hatchlings. Farmers often have to use pesticides and proper fencing to protect their poultry from squirrel attacks.
One of the reasons why squirrels eat eggs is that being omnivores, they’re attracted to all food types, be it plant-based or animal-based.
Snakes as well are known for being notorious egg eaters, but this only occurs in the wild. You won’t hear of snakes attacking bird’s nests in suburban areas.
However, evolution has shown that snakes will attack bird nests, and they’re not afraid of attacking even the nests of more giant birds.
The nests of crows and eagles are often not safe from snake attacks, especially if they’re left unguarded.
You’ve probably heard experts telling stories of fights between birds and snakes to protect their eggs.
The primary reason for this is snakes can easily climb trees and reach even the highest branches.
Because carnivorous snakes live entirely on an animal-based diet, they’ll swallow the birds’ eggs and any hatchling they see as a whole.
The eggshells are regurgitated by the snakes when all the contents have been extracted.
Moreover, the eggs and the young nestlings make easy prey for the snakes. These are the reasons why snakes are often found raiding the nests of birds in the wild.
Foxes are mammals, and they’re also omnivores. However, foxes are primarily associated with an animal-based diet.
You won’t see foxes indulging in a plant-based diet unless it’s a case where other food sources are unavailable.
In most cases, the staple diet of a fox consists of smaller mammals and other small creatures like rabbits, rodents, gophers, voles, and quail.
If they have to survive on a plant-based diet, they’ll look for berries, fruits, and vegetables.
Because of the varied diet of a fox, you’ll often find it making off with bird eggs in its mouth.
However, foxes don’t have access to bird nests that are built on trees. Instead, you’ll find foxes raiding the nests of mallards, partridges, and pheasants.
These birds tend to build their nests on the ground, and hence, they can be easily tracked by foxes.
However, foxes don’t eat the eggs immediately. Instead, they carry the eggs away from the nest and keep these in burrows.
They consume the eggs by breaking open the outer shell and drinking the contents inside.
A fox can lick an egg clean without consuming a single piece of eggshell. Hence, birds that build their nests closer to the ground are vulnerable to attacks from foxes.
Farmers who are into poultry farming will tell you that opossums are one of the most dangerous pests that they can have attacking their chickens.
The primary reason for this is opossums are omnivores, and they’ll consume all types of food.
Opossums are aggressive creatures and can be dangerous pests. Many experts believe that opossums can prove to be heavy feeders, making it difficult for farmers to protect their chickens from the attack of these pests.
They make away with the bird’s eggs, and chicken eggs are one of the favorite foods of opossums.
Since opossums can survive on almost any type of food, you can call them scavengers as well.
These creatures are always on the lookout for nutritious food that will fill their belly while increasing their energy levels.
Opossums that have given birth are all the more aggressive during this time which makes the eggs in the bird’s nest easy prey to the creature.
The diet of opossums changes according to the environment and their condition.
Hence, if they’re breeding, they’ll always be on the lookout for good food, and eggs are always one of the preferred food items as these provide them with adequate nutrition to increase their energy levels.
If you’re an animal lover, you wouldn’t want your bird’s nest to be destroyed by a badger. Badgers are keen climbers and are known to be omnivores.
They have a varied diet, which means they can survive on a plant and an animal-based diet.
Badgers love to eat fruits, vegetables, and seeds, and at the same time, they can feed entirely on animal flesh if other food sources are unavailable.
However, on a badger’s list of food to eat, it most likely has bird eggs.
A badger can climb reasonably high on a tree and reach a bird’s nest as a keen climber.
Along with the sharp claws, a badger has equally sharp teeth, with which it can easily break open an egg to consume the contents inside.
A unique ability of a badger is that, unlike other creatures, a badger can withstand a fall from a great height.
However, badgers won’t eat the egg on the tree because the mother bird can return anytime so they’ll quickly make their down the tree with the egg that they’ve just stolen.
Thus, in the wild, badgers are notorious egg thieves that can completely ransack a bird’s nest.
Pigs are opportunistic omnivores, and hence, they’ll eat a combination of animal and plant-based diets.
However, an entirely plant-based diet might not provide the animal with adequate nutrition, making it necessary to include animal protein.
Eggs are a complete food that can quickly give the pigs the essential vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
Pigs can consume the eggs whole, but they’ll reject the eggshell. They can finish the contents inside and lick the eggshells clean.
When the pigs are bred, boiled eggs are mixed in the food given to the pigs. This makes the food more palatable to the pigs, and they consume the eggs readily.
Piglets are often given boiled eggs as a boost to the immune system. After the piglets are weaned, it becomes necessary to provide them with an adequate amount of protein to help them build a robust immune system.
Farm pigs need to build a healthy digestive system before being allowed to forage in the grasslands.
However, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before making a change in an animal’s diet.
The most common animals that eat bird eggs are raccoons, hawks, crows, lizards, blue jays, groundhogs, squirrels, coyotes, snakes, foxes, tegus, opossums, badgers, and pigs while hawks will not only eat a bird’s egg but also any baby hatchling they see.