If you made of list of animals that might potentially raid the bird nests in your yard, your list would more than likely include the names of critters such as various birds, raccoons, cats, squirrels, rat snakes and opossums.  I would be surprised if your list included the mink.  However, the truth of the matter is the mink can climb trees and raid bird nests.

       The mink eats a wide variety of animals including crabs, crayfish, fish, salamanders, frogs, rabbits, voles, mice, rats, muskrats, snakes, ducks, insects, squirrels, and even young turtles.

       Being an opportunistic predator, it is easy to believe it also dines on the eggs and hatchlings of ground-nesting birds.  However, they will also not pass up a chance to eat the eggs and young found nests placed in trees.

       They are able to take advantage of this source of food because they are skilled climbers.  Mink can climb high into a tree, scramble from limb to limb, and then retreat down a tree headfirst.

       The good news is most homeowners should not worry that a hungry mink will climb a tree in their yards searching for food.  This is especially true if you do not live close to the mink’s preferred habitat.  However, if your home is located near a creek, river, marsh, beaver swamp, or pond surrounded by thick habitat there is always an outside chance a mink will make a hunting foray into your backyard.


  1. We moved to a home on the Yellow River four years ago. Walking along the river we found a beaver lodge built across a drainage culvert forming a beaver pond on a plot of neglected land where there is no house. We discovered there were mink about a year after moving here. This past fall I found a dead mink without a mark on its body and now we have a proliferation of moles. Could there be a connection?

    • Moggs,
      Thank you for responding to the blog on mink. Mink will eat a wide variety of small mammals. I am sure the mink was helping keeping their population under control. Hopefully, another mink will move in and solve your problem.

  2. they are nasty killers and make a mess if you have a backyard flock of chickens and they get into them. i lost 54 birds in one day to mink once!

  3. David,

    I am so sorry to hear of your problems with minks. Like many wild critters, they can be a problem. Unfortunately you experienced the worst case of mink depredation I have ever hear about. I hope you never have to go through that again.

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