Do Raccoons Eat Birds? Understanding Raccoon Predation

do raccoon eat birds

Do raccoons eat birds? This is a common question that arises when considering the dietary habits of these clever and adaptable creatures. Raccoons are omnivores, meaning they consume both plant and animal matter, and birds can indeed be part of their menu.

These nocturnal mammals have a diverse diet, which may include fruits, insects, small mammals, and yes, birds. Their agile nature and sharp claws make it possible for raccoons to climb trees and raid bird nests, particularly during the nesting season. Understanding the feeding habits of raccoons sheds light on their role in ecosystems and the potential impact they may have on bird populations.

Raccoon Diet Overview:

Omnivorous by definition, raccoons consume a variety of small animals and plants. While their reputation may revolve around scavenging, meat, including birds, constitutes a significant portion of their nutritional intake.

Armed with sharp claws and an ability to climb, raccoons can catch both loose and flying birds. The adaptability of their hunting techniques depends on the circumstances and the bird’s vulnerability.

Birds that are usually eaten by raccoons are: 

Chickens: Raccoons are known to raid unsecured chicken coops, targeting both roosting hens and vulnerable chicks. They pose a significant threat to backyard poultry.

Guineafowl: Raccoons hunt guineafowl, especially during nighttime hours. Guineas, being relatively small fowl, become easy targets for raccoons.

Turkeys: Raccoons, when hungry, will not hesitate to attack and consume turkeys. They may also feed on turkey eggs encountered during their foraging.

Quail: Raccoons often prey on quail, particularly if they are confined to enclosed spaces. Quail eggs are also targeted by raccoons due to their accessibility.

Pheasants: While not a primary choice, raccoons occasionally eat pheasants, focusing more on raiding pheasant nests for eggs rather than confronting adult birds.

Bird Eggs: Raccoons exhibit a penchant for bird eggs, utilizing their climbing abilities to access nests effortlessly. The nutritional value of eggs, rich in vitamins like selenium, makes them an attractive and easily consumable food source for raccoons.

Nestlings and Young Birds: Nesting birds, both adults and their offspring face the threat of raccoon predation. The ease with which raccoons can grab and carry off baby birds underscores the challenges faced by avian populations in raccoon-inhabited areas.

Birds of Prey: Raccoons exercise caution around birds of prey like eagles, hawks, and owls, recognizing them as potential threats. Unlike intentional predation, raccoons may consume already deceased birds of prey.

Opportunistic Hunting: In urban and suburban areas, where raccoons coexist with various bird species, opportunistic hunting cannot be ruled out. Small birds, such as sparrows and pigeons, may occasionally become targets.

How to protect your birds from Raccoon: 

Secure Coops and Cages: Invest in durable, predator-proof structures for your birds. Use raccoon-resistant locks and ensure all entry points are securely fastened.

Electric Fencing: Install electric fencing around your bird enclosure to deter raccoons. The mild shock helps discourage attempts to breach the area.

Nighttime Lockdown: Implement a strict nighttime lockdown routine for your birds. Secure them in enclosed coops to minimize vulnerability during nocturnal raccoon activity.

Motion-Activated Lights: Install lights around the enclosure to startle raccoons. Well-lit areas are less appealing to them, reducing the risk of nocturnal attacks.

Ammonia Soaked Objects: Use ammonia-soaked items to deter raccoons. Place them strategically around the coop as a natural deterrent against these nocturnal predators.

Trim Trees Near Coops: Prevent raccoon access by trimming branches near bird enclosures. This reduces the likelihood of raccoons reaching your birds from overhanging branches.

Predator-Proof Netting: Cover open spaces with secure netting to prevent raccoon intrusion. Ensure the netting is resistant to manipulation and fasten it securely.

Limit Food Availability: Minimize attractions by avoiding bird feed near the coop. Secure trash bins to prevent raccoons from being drawn to potential food sources on your property.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Raccoons Eating Birds

Q1: Why do raccoons eat birds?

A: Raccoons include birds in their diet as a source of meat, essential for their survival and nutritional needs. While birds may not be their primary choice, raccoons opportunistically consume them, especially when other prey is scarce.

Q2: How do raccoons catch birds?

A: Raccoons employ their sharp claws, climbing abilities, and stealth to catch birds. They often target smaller or injured birds, as well as those caught off guard. Nest raids during nesting seasons are also common tactics.

Q3: Do raccoons eat bird eggs?

A: Yes, raccoons are efficient egg predators. They easily access bird nests, utilizing their climbing skills, and consume the eggs. Bird eggs, being rich in nutrients, provide a quick and tasty meal for raccoons.

Q4: Are certain bird species more vulnerable to raccoon predation?

A: Smaller birds, nesting in less secure locations, are more vulnerable to raccoon predation. Birds that roost or nest at ground level, or those with limited escape routes, face higher risks.

Q5: How can I protect my backyard birds from raccoons?

A: To protect your backyard birds, secure coops and cages with predator-proof measures. Elevate roosts and nests, install motion-activated lights, and consider using ammonia-soaked objects or electric fencing as deterrents. Nighttime lockdowns for birds also minimize vulnerability to raccoon attacks.


In conclusion, raccoons are opportunistic omnivores that include birds, particularly eggs and nestlings, in their varied diet. While not a primary food source, raccoons demonstrate adaptability in their feeding habits, showcasing the dynamic interactions within ecosystems.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.