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Do Raccoons Eat Birds?

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Raccoons are legendary for scavenging through leftovers and foraging for whatever food they can find. Since raccoons seem to spend a large part of their lives searching through dumpsters and hiding in trees, do they ever eat birds?

Raccoons do eat birds because they are omnivores. This means they eat a variety of small animals and plants.

Birds are not the first choice on a raccoon’s list of food options because birds are difficult to catch. Raccoons will kill and eat small birds that do not put up much of a fight and are easy to grab.

When most people think of raccoons, we don’t imagine them eating other animals. Yet meat, like that from birds, makes up a large portion of their diets.

Learn more about how raccoons and birds interact in the wild to truly understand their predator and prey relationship.

Raccoon on a bird feeder in the forest

Why Do Racoons Eat Birds?

Raccoons eat birds because birds are small and a source of the meat that raccoons need to survive and thrive. Raccoons are omnivorous animals that eat not only plants but significant amounts of meat when available.

Birds are able to fly and can frequently escape the clutches of raccoons. When birds are caught off guard, however, they can fall prey to raccoons.

Do Raccoons Eat Chickens?

Raccoons do often eat chickens and have no problem tearing into unsecured chicken coops. A hungry raccoon will do whatever it takes to eat, even if that means fighting with a chicken for its next meal.

Raccoons tend to break into chicken coops at night, when the chickens are roosting or setting in nesting boxes. When chickens are confined in a coop and a raccoon breaks in, there is a good chance at least one will succumb to the predator.

Will Raccoons Eat Guineafowl?

Raccoons will eat guineafowl and tend to hunt them during the nighttime hours. Guineas are relatively small fowl, growing to around 2 to 3 pounds in adulthood.

Single guinea hens or those kept in cages are relatively easy for raccoons to attack and eat. It is important to keep guineas in secure cages, especially ones where raccoons cannot reach their paws into or tear open.

Do Raccoons Eat Turkeys?

Raccoons will eat turkeys if they are hungry enough, despite many turkeys growing rather large in size. Raccoons are ferocious predators when necessary and, while it may take a lot of effort, they will kill turkeys.

Raccoons will also eat turkey eggs that they come across as well. Raccoons will eat both domesticated and wild turkeys, regardless of whether they are still young or full-grown adults.

Do Raccoons Eat Quail?

Raccoons often eat quail but they prefer to eat quail eggs. If the quail is confined to an enclosed space, raccoons will have an easier time attacking and killing adult quail.

Quail are fast, small birds, often weighing less than 1 pound on average, much smaller than a raccoon. If a raccoon is able to catch a quail, it will have no issue eating it.

Do Raccoons Eat Pheasants?

Raccoons do eat pheasants on rare occasions, however, they prefer to ransack pheasant eggs instead. Pheasants will lay and set around 12 eggs in their nest, so that makes an abundant meal for a ravaging raccoon.

Pheasants weigh somewhere around 2.5 pounds, depending on the breed. Pheasants tend to have a better chance of escaping raccoons than other bird breeds thanks to their size and agility.

Raccoon_catch

Can a Raccoon Catch a Loose Bird?

A raccoon has extremely sharp claws that are not retractable, meaning they are always out and ready to attack. These claws, along with their sharp teeth and ability to climb as well as jump allows raccoons to catch a loose bird.

Loose birds have a better chance of escaping from raccoons than caged or confined birds. They are able to fly away, where confined birds have only a few places to hide, if any.

Do Raccoons Eat Birds That Fly?

Raccoons do eat birds that fly, if they are able to catch them. Flying birds are difficult for raccoons to grab because they are able to escape easily, however, they can still be caught in the right conditions.

Injured birds, those defending their nests, and unsuspecting birds can be eaten by a raccoon regardless of whether they are able to fly or not.

Do Raccoons Eat Bird Eggs?

Raccoons will eat bird eggs before they will even bother with trying to grab a live adult bird.

Raccoons spend a lot of their time in trees and are able to get to bird nests easily, often without the mother bird even noticing.

Raccoons love to eat bird eggs because they are a quick and tasty meal for them. They have no issue clearing out an entire nest of bird eggs.

Will a Raccoon Eat Baby Birds?

Raccoons will eat baby birds and it does not bother them how old their prey is. Raccoons view all birds, including baby birds, as potential food.

Baby birds are easy for raccoons to grab and carry off because they are often unable to fly and do not put up a fight at all. While it is disheartening to think about, baby birds do provide a solid meal for raccoons that are looking for food.

Can a Raccoon Eat an Adult Bird?

A raccoon can eat an adult bird and will under the right circumstances. Although it may not be their first choice, raccoons will eat adult birds if they are hungry enough.

It may prove to be a difficult task, but killing an adult bird for food is not completely out of the norm for raccoons.

Can a Raccoon Eat a Large Bird of Prey?

Raccoons tend to steer clear of birds of prey including eagles, hawks, and owls. Raccoons themselves can become food for these large birds, so they don’t intentionally try to attack a bird of prey for the purposes of eating them.

Raccoons would have no issue, however, with eating an already deceased bird of prey since it poses no threat to them.

Raccoon_eat_eggs

9 Other Animals Raccoons Eat

Raccoons are not well-equipped predatory hunters, but they do eat small animals when necessary or when available.

Here are some of the other animals that raccoons eat:

  1. Frogs
  2. Crayfish
  3. Insects
  4. Reptiles
  5. Reptile Eggs
  6. Ducks
  7. Mussels
  8. Mice
  9. Squirrels

Final Thoughts

Raccoons are interesting creatures that are actually both a predator and a potential prey for other predators. Raccoons do eat birds occasionally, especially young birds that are easy to catch.

They also enjoy eating chickens, guineas, quail, and pheasants when food is scarce. It is important to keep your backyard poultry safe from the clutches of a raccoon.

Resources:

Learning about raccoons and how they view birds is an interesting and educational experience. Here are the sources used for this article.

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