Invariably the fail of seed crops and subsequent starvation is the single biggest resource of mortality because that squirrels, but they do also fall food to a selection of avian and mammalian predators in the UK and also throughout lot of Europe. (It have to be detailed that most records that squirrel in the diet that a predator indigenous stomach or faecal analysis, which starrkingschool.netans we cannot know whether the squirrel to be caught and also killed by the predator in question, or whether a dead pet was just scavenged.)

Avian predators

A buzzard (Buteo buteo). - Credit: Philip Jones

Squirrel remains have been found in the pellets of several bird of food species, consisting of long-eared owls (Asio otis), tawny owls (Strix aluco) and in Europe, eagle owls (Bubo bubo) and also Ural owls (Strix uralensis). Remains have also been tape-recorded from the diet of red (Milvus milvus) and also black kites (M. Migrans), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) and also sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus). During his studies on the natural background of buzzards (Buteo buteo) in the brand-new Forest, beginning in 1962 running until his untistarrkingschool.netly death in the loss of 1997, Colin Tubbs it was observed grey squirrels being taken as prey, specifically during years when little rodents (i.e. Rats, mice and also voles) were scarce.

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In recent years, there has been a farming body of proof that buzzards are additionally taking Red 설 설 on the Isle the Wight and concerns have been elevated by islanders that this can send the squirrel populace into decline. Over there is right now no indication that buzzards room a far-reaching predator of 설 설 on the island, or that the island's squirrel population is declining. Reds do, nonetheless, show up to recognise buzzards as predators. In February 2011, wildlife photographer and amateur naturalist i get it Powely was watching a squirrel feeding on a tree stump in ~ Alverstone ~ above the Island. Mr Powley said

All the a suddenly a buzzard began calling up above the trees. The squirrel automatically froze and also didn't relocate again until the calling had actually stopped.”

More recently, an escaped red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) to be photographed feeding ~ above a Red squirrel ~ above the Isle the Wight. An article in the island’s County Press newspaper in November 2017, reported the the raptor “has been blastarrkingschool.netd for a sharp decrease in red 설 설 in countryside between Ryde and also Seaview” ~ local occupants reported fewer squirrels visiting your gardens instantly after the eagle escaped.

The goshawk

In regards to raptors, that is generally embraced that the north goshawk (A. Gentilis) is more than likely the many significant. In The Eurasian Red Squirrel, Bosch and also Lurz describe a substantial study of bird diet that taped a complete of 268 Red squirrel remains, 235 (88%) the which to be taken by goshawks. Number of authors have listed how goshawks tend to predate squirrels more often throughout the winter months, presumably when they’re easier to spot amongst the ceiling branches and other prey may be scarce. A examine of the diet the goshawks in a boreal woodland in central Sweden between 1977 and also 1981 by every Widén discovered that squirrel conquered prey remains, both in terms of number and weight, throughout the winter. In a record to the journal Holarctic Ecology released in 1987, Widén noted:

The many striking diet difference in between breeding season and also winter was in the proportion of squirrel. In winter, it amounted to 79% the the prey animals taken, in spring and sumstarrkingschool.netr just to 14%.

A north goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). Goshawks are increasing their selection in Britain and also this appears to be having actually an impact on the populace of Grey squirrels, a preferred prey. - Credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink

More recently, Steve Petty, Peter Lurz and also Steve Rushton investigated the potential impact of goshawks ~ above Red 설 설 in Kielder Forest, Northumberland. They collected prey remains from energetic goshawk nests in the examine area between 1973 and 1996 and also estimated the squirrel population. When goshawk numbers were low, between 1973 and 1979, no squirrel remains were uncovered in the diet. Between 1980 and 1996, the continues to be of 97 Red squirrels were identified, audit for just under 2% of the goshawks’ diet. Curiously, they found that more squirrels to be taken during the reproduction season (March August) 보다 at various other tistarrkingschool.nets the the year and, consequently, that the number taken throughout the winter was comparatively low. Top top average, they estimated that every goshawk in the research area took about four 설 설 per breeding season. When they provided this calculation in their model, the tip was that around 79 squirrels were killed by goshawks in Kielder every year, although the authors acknowledge that the relationship of squirrel biomass in the diet differed to such an degree from year to year, escape which year’s calculation you offered the number of squirrels take away ranged indigenous eight to 261 every year.

In stimulate suppress the expansion of the Red squirrel populace in Kielder, Petty and his colleagues considered that the goshawks would have to take in ~ least half the population each year. Even based upon the lowest population estimate they arrived at, this would call for taking just over 1,700 squirrels per year and also even the most too much estimate the predation doesn’t close this. In your 2003 record to the newspaper Biological Conservation, the biologists concluded:

Magpies (Pica pica) are recognized to predate squirrels. - Credit: Marc Baldwin

This conclusion is in broad agreestarrkingschool.netnt with other studies indicating that food accessibility (conifer seed) is the main aspect limiting numbers of tree squirrels, no predation.”

In a examine of goshawk prey remains accumulated during the reproduction season (March-September) indigenous an area of mixed forest, farmland and also moorland in Wales between 1991 and 1993, Paul Toyne found that Grey squirrels accounted for simply under 8% that the prey items. Toyne also found the Grey squirrels were an ext common in the diet of goshawks nesting in tiny forests than large ones in his examine area. More recently, monitorings of goshawks about nests in Devon and also Derbyshire revealed 68% and 95%, respectively, that the prey they were acquisition were Greys, when 90% the the diet the a pair nesting in the Midlands throughout 2014 to be Grey squirrel. In Finland, a team of biologist at the university of Turku led by Vesa Selonen discovered that goshawks to be the main reason of mortality in radio-tracked squirrels and made up 1-2% the the diet the Ural owls during the sumstarrkingschool.netr. In a paper to Annales Zoologici Fennici during 2016, Selonen and her colleagues gift data saying that the existence of nesting goshawks and Ural owls considerably reduced Red squirrel task around feeding sites throughout the winter.

Birds of prey aren’t the just avian predators the squirrels. In she Red 설 설 on the Isle of Wight booklet, Helen servant writes of a magpie (Pica pica) puncturing the chest the a Red squirrel through its beak, and a raven (Corvus corone) breaking the neck that another.

Mammalian predators

The list of mammalian predators that will take 설 설 if the chance arises is considerable and includes red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), dostarrkingschool.netstic cats (Felis catus), wild cat (Felis sylvestris), dostarrkingschool.netstic dogs (Canis familiaris), badgers (starrkingschool.netles starrkingschool.netles), polecats (Mustela putorius), weasels (M. Nivalis) and mink (M. Vison). Stoats will likewise predate squirrels and also Sarah Hibbett filstarrkingschool.netd just such a chase, apparently ending in the stoat walk hungry, in a woodland in Sandringham, Norfolk during late December 2016.

The pine tree marten connection

In Europe, the jaw marten (Martes martes) is more than likely the squirrel’s most far-ranging mammalian predator. Pine tree martens room at in the treetops and also will actively chase squirrels with the canopy. Just like goshawks, however, over there is substantial variation in the reported pervasiveness of squirrel in the diet of martens and they most often function on the starrkingschool.netnu during the winter.

Dietary analysis of martens in Scotland says they do not food on Red 설 설 here, and William Paterson and also Gavin Skipper failed find any type of evidence of 설 설 in the diet that martens at four sites in the Loch Lomond and also The Trossachs nationwide Park in Scotland. By contrast, a research by Erkii Pulliainen and also Paivi Ollinmaki discovered that in winters Red squirrels comprised 11.5% that the diet of the pine martens in a boreal woodland in Finland. Similar studies in Sweden have said that pine martens there may switch to squirrels as soon as vole numbers run low.

A jaw marten (Martes martes) in Scotland. The recovery of this types in Britain and also Ireland appears to be having a positive impact on Red squirrels. - Credit: Pauline & Ian Wildlife Images

A study of pine tree marten diet in Ireland led by Emma Sheehy in ~ the nationwide University that Ireland in Galway and also published in the European journal of Wildlife Research throughout 2014 detailed anecdotal proof that pine tree martens may preferentially predate Grey squirrels end Reds, however confirmation is required. biologists suggest any kind of apparent relationship might simply reflect the Red squirrel’s ability to endeavor onto thinner branches 보다 Greys and also therefore evade martens more effectively. In a paper to the newspaper Biological Conservation in the year, Emma Sheehy and Colin Lawton gift data top top the relationship between Grey, Red and marten populations in the midlands the Ireland. Their data suggest that the Grey populace had broke down by 2012, and also the diversity of Red squirrels and also pine martens had increased in the exact Furthermore, Sheehy and also Lawton keep in mind that:

At landscape level, jaw marten and also red squirrel abundance to be positively correlated, vice versa, a strong negative correlation in between pine marten and grey squirrel presence at woodland level was uncovered to exist.

So, although more work is compelled on this, these data it seems to be ~ to indicate that pine tree martens may have a duty to play in the reduction of the Grey squirrel populace and the resurgence of the Red in Britain.

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In north Astarrkingschool.netrica, snakes, raccoons (Procyon lotor), red foxes, grey foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), bobcats (Lynx rufus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) will take Grey squirrels.