Any experience with GREY squirrels attacking nestlings?

roseunhip(z5b QC)April 1, 2005

I have never experienced myself, in many years of "gardening for birds", any raid by any squirrel of this species on egg clutches or nestlings. (I know that the red one is another story.) But of course this doesn't prove anything...

I want to put up my chickadee house (made of wood) again this spring. I have to consider a spot which happens to be near the house (quite easily accessible to the squirrels re. hedges and trees), which will be remote to where we have our leashed cat rest outside in the shade, in the warm season. (Otherwise, the chickadees make a terrible fuss, restrain from feeding their chicks as long as the cat is there, etc., and then it's no fun for anyone in the garden!)

If I should be forced to buy a metal box instead, do grey squirrels actually reach in with their forelegs to catch their prey? (as I would expect a raccoon would do)

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Actually, I thought it was gray squirrels with the bad reputation for nest invasion. They certainly get the blame for it in England!!! (Grays are native American animals, introduced to England not all that long ago!!)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 10:15AM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

Roseunhip; Do you know what a predator guard is? Two years ago when I purchased a wooden birdhouse it wouldn't go up in the trees unless it had an ample predator guard, made from hardware cloth with the edges snipped and sharp threads bent outward. Then attached around the entrance hole of the box. Guard sticks out about 6-7" in length. I didn't want raccoons or outdoor cats climbing the tree and reaching in with their dexterious paws/hands/claws. The predator guard was a little reassurance... Same thing w/squirrel nestboxes. The wildlife center has 'em built w/predator guards, wood piece on the inside of box w/2-3" lip, to deter tree-climbing carni-/omnivores from reaching in. I got the hardware cloth idea and sketch from a book.

Was in a pet-supply store on the 19th and a man came in to purchase bird seed. He despised the squirrels and admitted he'd take out his gun to shoot 'em if they dared interfere w/his seed offerings. :\ Oh yes, I know from wildlife conversations that reds are meaner, feisty, and horrendously territorial.

Please send a picture of your box after you've got it in place. I love seeing birdboxes in natural settings.

Some of the birdhouses and boxes they sell in catalogs and stores make me shake my head... dunno how any bird would feel safe, or homelike, in that creation?! And a note on nestbuilding materials; observed a gray squirrel tearing off chunks of corrugated cardboard from the sturdy carton (box from my foster rabbit housing) on our deck. Off she scurried w/the cardboard pieces in his mouth. Musta needa a new lining for his/her drey. Wish I had the camera at that second. ... We won't be so quick to put the box in the trash!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 12:28PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Greys are as bad or worse than reds for nestling predation. My understanding is that even chippies won't turn up their noses at meat now and again. You can buy predator guards commercially - they basically make the box entrance hole too long for anything to reach into. To protect against snakes, you need a baffle below the box.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 1:17PM
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