What to feed baby sparrows nz

What is a Baby Sparrow's Diet?

By Betty Lewis

i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

The house sparrow is the most common of North America's 35 sparrow species. Generally, he eats a lot of grains and seeds, but will enjoy the protein of insects during the summer. A baby sparrow's diet depends on what mom and dad feed it; where they live affects the menu options.

Wild Child

A baby sparrow eats whatever his parents give him to eat, which means he's eating the same things they are. The house sparrow is opportunistic in his dining, eating whatever's available. Commercial birdseed and discarded food will work, as do various grasses, ragweed and seeds he comes across. He'll indulge in insects in the summer, such as caterpillars and grasshoppers. Other sparrows, such as field sparrows, forage for seeds and insects on the ground. Mom and dad regurgitate their food finds to feed to their nestlings.

Orphaned Baby?

If you come across a baby sparrow in your yard, pause a moment before deciding he's in distress. A fledgling, which is a baby bird with his feathers, may be on the ground because he's learning to fly. If the baby doesn't have feathers, you can return him to his nest -- despite the myth, his parents won't abandon him because of human touch. If there's no nest, or you determine the baby sparrow needs your assistance, a proper diet is important to putting him on the path to independence.

Home Cooking

Baby birds grow quickly and require protein to grow properly. Mom and dad take care of their nestlings' protein requirements with insects, but you can use cat food to meet the baby sparrow's protein needs. Soak one cup of cat food in enough water to make it mushy and add 1/4 cup of applesauce, one chopped hard-boiled egg, a crushed calcium carbonate tablet and avian vitamins, dosed according to the package. Mix everything together with enough water to give the mixture the consistency of cooked oatmeal. Freezing the mixture in ice cube trays gives you a fresh inventory of food on hand, so you can thaw only what you need. Chopsticks or plastic forceps make good feeding utensils.

How Much How Often

A baby sparrow should gain weight daily to get ready to fly. If his eyes are closed and he's featherless, he'll need fed every 15 to 20 minutes, dawn to dusk. When he starts growing feathers and his eyes are open, feeding can occur every 30 to 45 minutes during the same time. As he grows, the time between feedings and the amount you feed can increase. When he's hopping out of the nest, he can be fed once an hour; by the time he's confident outside the nest, every two or three hours is sufficient. Try leaving food by his bowl when he's about a month old, though he won't be weaned for another few weeks. If he continually refuses to eat, call a vet or wildlife rehabilitation center.

To Do, and Not to Do

Avoid pasta and bread products, which are empty calories and won't help him grow, as well as dairy products because baby birds don't handle lactose well. If he's well hydrated, the inside of his mouth will look moist; if he's dehydrated, his skin may look reddish. Don't give him drops of water in his mouth because he can inhale them and drown. Instead, use Gatorade as a hydrating fluid, dipping your fingers in it and placing drops on his beak.


  • 2ndChance.info: Caring for Orphan Wild Baby Birds
  • StarlingTalk.com: Baby Starling & Sparrow Care
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds: House Sparrow
  • WildlifeHotline.com: Raising Baby Sparrows & Starlings
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Field Sparrow Habitat Model

Photo Credits

What Do Sparrows Eat? A Complete Guide of Feeding Sparrows

One day we were sitting at the window. A flock of sparrows came and ate all the seeds we put at the feeder for our pigeons. We were extremely annoyed with the sparrows. After a while, a question came into our minds, what do sparrows eat?

We did a little research on the topic and found out exclusive information about feeding sparrows. Sparrows primarily eat livestock feed, including cracked corn, cereal grains, oats, wheat, rice, and dried insects. These birds also feed on chopped fruits and berries in winter when regular food sources are scarce. They even feast on human food and kitchen leftovers.

Apart from that, sparrows can eat vegetables and plants that you may not know before today. In this article, we’re going to talk all about feeding different types of sparrows. You can also read our articles on how to befriend sparrows or how to prevent them.

Related Blogs:
How Long Do Sparrows Live? [Read here]
How To Attract Sparrows? [Read here]
How To Get Rid Of Sparrows? [Read here]

Common Diet of Sparrows

Like many songbirds, sparrows are omnivorous, which means that they can eat both animals and plants. These predominantly vegetarian birds usually forage for foods on the ground. This doesn’t mean they don’t use feeders. Let’s see the list of sparrows’ common diet.

1. Grains

Sparrows mainly feed on grains, including soybeans, rice, white millet, red millet, wheat, oats, barley, cracked corn, sorghum, white proso milo, and more. Thanks to their small beaks, they prefer eating medium-sized cracked corn.

Image Source: stock.adobe.com

You can feed your garden sparrows with these grains from your kitchen. If you don’t have any in your house, we recommend feeding the sparrows the Organic Super Grains Blend from Amazon that will ship it to your door after a couple of days you’ve ordered it.

2. Seeds

Sparrows consume many plant and grass seeds scattered on the ground. They include striped sunflower seeds, shelled safflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, canary seeds, nyjer, and hard-shelled seeds (by some native sparrows).

Image Source: shutterstock.com

If you’re willing to feed sparrows, offer them some fresh seeds from nature. However, we recommend you feed your garden sparrows the Lyric Sunflower Kernels from Amazon. This package doesn’t contain any shell. So, it’s 100% edible for sparrows.

3. Nuts

Another favorite food for sparrows is a wide variety of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, beechnuts, Brazil nuts, hickory nuts, and more. These nuts are rich in protein and oil, good for sparrows’ health. Since they have small beaks, unshelled nuts can make choking hazards.

Image Source: shutterstock.com

If you want to feed them some nuts, make sure to crash them or hang them in feeders. Sparrows will crush them by themselves while eating. You can buy Lyric Peanut Pieces from Amazon. Don’t provide them with salted peanuts, which will be bad for their health.

4. Fruits

As an occasional diet, sparrows eat fruits by pecking. They usually consume a wide variety of fruits when they’re migrating in the fall. Many gardeners complain that there are holes in many fruits, made by many sparrow species.

Image Source: stock. adobe.com

The fruits sparrows may eat include apples, grapes, pears, cherries, loquats, plums, peaches, bananas, watermelon, etc. Every time you’re going to feed your garden sparrows some fruits, make sure to chop them into pieces. Sparrows cannot eat the whole fruit.

5. Berries

Like fruits, berries are in the list of the occasional diet of sparrows. The common berries that sparrows eat are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, baneberries, bearberries, buffalo berries, chokeberries, elderberries, salmonberries, raspberries, and more.

Image Source: stock.adobe.com

If you want to feed your garden sparrows with different types of berries, we recommend planting many berry-bearing trees in your yard. Always offer them chopped berries in feeders because sparrows eat their treats through their small beaks.

6. Vegetables

Just like humans, birds can eat vegetables. When it comes to sparrows, they eat a few veggies, including potatoes, peas, lentils, lettuce, and tomatoes. In general, they don’t eat these items. When their food sources are not abundant, they consume some veggies to survive.

Image Source: istockphoto.com

If you’re willing to provide your sparrows with some veggies from your kitchen, make sure to chop them into pieces so that sparrows can easily swallow the food. You should place a bowl of water in your yard to allow a wide variety of sparrows to drink from it.

7. Insects

Sparrows feast on various small insects, including caterpillars, aphids, bees, and ants, particularly during spring and early summer. They mainly catch these insects to feed their offspring. When the babies leave the nest, they return to their original diet: grains and seeds.

Image Source: shutterstock.com

Some adult species consume suet and mealworms, either live or dried. Therefore, the Kaytee Seed & Mealworm Treat Cake from Amazon will be an ideal treat for these little songbirds. This seed & mealworm combo includes sunflower and safflower seed and dried mealworms.

8. Plants

Sparrows are mainly interested in the seeds of many trees and grasses, but they may eat leaves and grasses occasionally. When they don’t find sufficient seeds to satisfy their hunger, they need to eat plants to survive in the wild.

Image Source: shutterstock.com

The plants sparrows consume include ragweed, crabgrass, buckwheat, and many flowers and buds. If you want to help them feed on plants, these plants should be available in your yard. Apart from that, you should avoid applying insecticide in the grass.

9. Human Food

Sparrows sometimes eat many human foods, like bread crumbs and French fries. If you’re willing to feed sparrows some bread crumbs, make sure to soak them into the water for a while. Sparrows cannot swallow the dried bread crumbs.

Image Source: stock.adobe.com

When it comes to nestlings, they don’t swallow bread crumbs even after you soak them into water. Their tiny stomachs won’t accept the food. Remember, don’t provide adult sparrows old bread crumbs. Their stomachs might be upset.

10. Scraps

Many sparrow species are out there that search for foods in human’s waste and rubbish. You may have seen them around kitchen scraps, finding any leftover food item. They might be available in garbage cans or around dumpsters, scavenging for food.

Image Source: commons.wikimedia.com

You can keep your kitchen scraps uncovered to allow a wide variety of sparrows to eat from. This has some positive aspects. For example, sparrows will keep your surroundings clean by eating the scraps (as we all know that birds are natural pest controllers).

Sparrows Diet By Types

Almost all native sparrows eat their common foods, including grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, insects, etc. There are around 35 sparrow species are out there in North America. They’re house sparrows, song sparrows, American tree sparrows, Eurasian tree sparrows, and more.

Let’s see what they eat and whether any difference is in their diet or not. Before we’re going to discuss what these native sparrows feed on, look at the following table.

Name of SparrowsScientific NameCommon Diet
House SparrowPasser DomesticusGrains, seeds, insects, discarded food by humans, and livestock feed.
Song SparrowMelospiza MelodiaSeeds, grasses, weeds, and insects, including grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps, and ants.
American Tree SparrowSpizelloides ArboreaSeeds, grains, berries, and insects.
Eurasian Tree SparrowPasser MontanusInsects, waste grain, weeds, grasses, and seeds.
Great SparrowPasser MotitensisCaterpillars, grasshoppers, seeds, and cultivated cereals.
Henslow’s SparrowCentronyx HenslowiiInsects, including ants, flies, moths, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers.
Italian SparrowPasser ItalineSeeds, gravel, arthropods, and shell fragments.

#House Sparrow

What do house sparrows eat? House sparrows mainly eat grains, seeds, insects, discarded food by humans, and livestock feed. These birds are identified with their short tails, round head, full chest, and chunky body, found in urban, agricultural, and suburban areas.

#Song Sparrow

What do song sparrows eat? Song sparrows mostly feed on seeds and insects, including ants, wasps, beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. In winter, they eat weeds and grasses to survive. They love insects in spring and early summer.

#American Tree Sparrow

What do American tree sparrows eat? The American Tree Sparrows’ Diet consists of seeds and insects, especially in spring and early summer. In winter when seeds and insects are not abundant, they feed on wild berries and various fruits.

#Eurasian Tree Sparrow

What do Eurasian tree sparrows eat? Eurasian tree sparrows, in general, consume Insects, waste grain, weeds, grasses, and seeds. These birds are available in Eurasia, found in suburban areas, farmlands, and open country in various trees and bushes.

#Great Sparrow

What Do Great Sparrows Eat? Great sparrows feast on seeds, insects, and cultivated cereals. They get enough protein from plenty of insects, like caterpillars, grasshoppers, and mealworms. You can find these birds in Southern African regions.

#Henslow’s Sparrow

What do Henslow’s sparrows eat? Henslow’s sparrows eat a variety of insects, including flies, ants, moths, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets. The chicks are fed regurgitated insect larva and larger insects’ soft abdomens from their parents.

#Italian Sparrow

What do Italian sparrows eat? Italian sparrows feed on insects, seeds, arthropods, shell fragments, and gravel. They’re available in many European countries, such as Italy, France, Switzerland, Greece, and Austria. You can see them in urban, rural, forest, and rocky areas.

What Sparrows Eat in the Winter?

Sparrows, in the winter, mainly eat wild berries, including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, raspberries, and more. Seeds, grains, and insects are not abundant during this season due to heavy snow all over the regions.

Image Source: stock.adobe.com

However, sparrows are social birds. They keep a close interaction with humans to eat offered foods from enthusiast backyard birders. Many birders usually offer sparrows bread crumbs and French fries. Besides, these little birds forage for leftovers in kitchen scraps.

What Sparrows Eat at Feeders?

Although sparrows are ground foragers, they love eating at bird feeders. The foods sparrows eat at feeders are sunflower seeds, cracked corn, shelled peanuts, birdseed mix, sliced fruits and berries, suet, dried mealworms, and more.

Let’s see some of the feeders that sparrows like to eat from:

#Caged Tube Feeder: Sparrows love to eat seeds and grains from tube feeders. However, tube feeders usually have low perches. That’s why they prefer caged tube feeders that feature more perching space. The Woodlink Caged Tube Feeder from Amazon could be the best option.

#Dome Feeder: Sparrows, at dome feeders, can eat seeds, grains, nuts, and fruits offered by many backyard birders. The best thing is that these feeders have a dome that protects the treats from rainwater. The Droll Yankee Dome Feeder from Amazon is highly recommended.

#Window Feeder: If you’re an enthusiastic bird watcher, then a window feeder like the DF OMER Window Feeder from Amazon could attract various sparrows near your windows. You can add various grains, seeds, sliced fruits and berries, and a mix of various seeds and grains in the feeder.

#Hopper Feeder: At hopper feeders, sparrows would love to eat cracked corn, millet, sunflower seeds, oats, rice, and many more seeds and grains. The Woodlink Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder from Amazon is an ideal feeder for sparrows. As the name suggests, it prevents squirrels to eat from it.

What Do Baby Sparrows Eat?

Baby sparrows eat what their parents feed them. The chicks are fed regurgitated foods from their parents because they are young enough to eat foods by themselves. The foods that young sparrows eat are mainly insects to ensure sufficient protein to grow quickly.

Image Source: shutterstock.com

Once the baby sparrows are 4 to 6 weeks old, they can leave the nest. Later, they’re allowed to eat their foods, foraging in nature. When the sparrows are not properly grown-up, they cannot hunt moderately large insects; just depend on small ones, such as ants and moths.

What to Feed Baby Sparrows (And What You Shouldn’t)

If you find a young, naked sparrow on the ground, it’s too young to eat by itself. The bird needs your help. Before helping the birds, you need to know what to feed baby sparrows. You can read our article on feeding a baby bird without feathers for a general idea.

Image Source: stock.adobe.com

The foods you can feed the baby sparrow are:

  • Cat/dog food (soaked in water)
  • Hard-boiled eggs (mixed with water)
  • Small insects, including ants, beetles, and moths
  • Dried insects mixed with cat/dog kibble

Now, what shouldn’t you feed baby sparrows? Don’t feed the baby sparrow earthworms. Also, don’t give water to the baby bird forcefully. Just mix a little amount of water in its food. Even if you need to feed the chick some water, use a long syringe.

However, if you want to get dried insects, we recommend buying the Kaytee Dried Mealworms from Amazon. Mix some dried mealworms with cat/dog kibble and feed the baby sparrow a bit after 3 to 5 minutes. Dried mealworms provide it enough protein.

Feeding and Foraging Behavior of Sparrows

Sparrows are mainly ground foragers. They love eating grains, seeds, and insects on the ground. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t eat at feeders. Their chunky and stout bills are perfectly designed to separate the seed from the husk.

Since these little birds feast on anywhere in the wild, they will never go hungry. When feeding on something, like ripening grain or farmers’ crops, they forage for the foods in a flock. They like to hop along instead of walking to search for their food.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do sparrows hunt?

Apart from grains and seeds, sparrows eat insects. The biggest is how they hunt insects. Sparrows use ground gleaning to eat insects from grasses. They can catch a variety of insects in flight. They may even visit lawnmowers to find stuck-on insects.

2. When and how often do sparrows eat?

Sparrows are diurnal birds, meaning they remain active during the daytime. That’s why almost all sparrow species eat their treats during this time. However, how often sparrows eat depends on their age. Featherless young sparrows need to eat regurgitated food more frequently, while the feeding frequency of adult sparrows reduces significantly.

3. What Eats Sparrows?

Many predators, including raccoons, snakes, cats, dogs, owls, falcons, and hawks, are real threats to sparrows. They might kill sparrows to eat. Oftentimes when the parents are not present in the nests, these predators break and eat the eggs.

Final Words

Now that you know what sparrows eat in the wild, in the yard, and in the winter, you can offer them their favorite foods all year round (of course, according to the season). A sparrow-friendly feeder will help you feed them a variety of nutritious treats.

Hopefully, this article has successfully let you learn what to feed sparrows and their chicks (if you found any fallen on the ground). If you have any experience in feeding sparrows, you can share with us below in the comment section. We’ll be waiting for your valuable comments.



Colds are coming, and we traditionally begin to feed the birds, laying out food in feeders and hanging lard on trees. THE BOTANICAL GARDEN-INSTITUTE ACCEPTS BIRD FEED AND PROTEIN. We have a lot of feeders in the Arboretum, and in winter we regularly monitor their fullness. Well-fed birds survive the cold more easily and are more likely to survive until spring.

Feed the birds in winter!
Let from all over
They will flock to you like home,
Stakes on the porch.
Their food is poor.
A handful of grain is needed,
One handful - and they will not be afraid of winter.
How many of them die - do not count,
It's hard to see.
But in our heart there is
And the birds are warm.
Is it possible to forget:
Could fly away,
And they stayed for the winter
Along with people.
Train the birds in the cold
To your window,
So that without songs it was not necessary
We welcome spring!
Alexander Yashin
What can you feed the birds in winter

In winter, each type of bird eats a certain type of food. The species composition of visiting birds will also depend on what you pour into the feeder. The following are the main foods that can be used in winter top dressing:


The favorite food of some birds are the seeds of various plants, especially cereals. Sprinkling millet or oats into the feeder will attract sparrows, goldfinches and other grain-eating birds. Birds in winter can be fed with wheat bran, hard oatmeal, poppy seeds, pearl barley. Some birds eat corn and watermelon seeds, which must be crushed beforehand. If you are interested in breeding useful birds in your garden, then in the fall prepare weed seeds - nettles, quinoa, burdock, thistles, and pour them into the feeder in winter. But keep in mind that this will be only an insignificant addition to the main feed. it is more correct to plant mountain ash, viburnum, hawthorn, buckthorn, bird cherry and other berry trees and shrubs on your feeding area.


The most versatile food for wintering birds. It can be eaten by both granivorous birds and tits, nuthatches, woodpeckers. The large amount of vegetable fats inside sunflower seeds makes them an important source of energy in cold winter conditions. If there is monotonous food in the feeder, sunflower tits will look for additional protein animal food.


These products can also be used for winter bird feeding. They are very fond of tits, nuthatches and some other species of birds. But it is worth remembering that only unsalted lard or meat can be offered to birds. As a rule, pieces of bacon are strung on twine, which is hung on tree branches. Top dressing from fat or meat should be placed in such a way that it does not go to crows, magpies, jackdaws, as well as cats and dogs.

You can put a small piece of butter in the feeder. On especially frosty days, this product will help the birds survive.


Berries of mountain ash and hawthorn attract the most beautiful winter birds - bullfinches and waxwings, mountain ash.

Dried berries and fruits. Make a bunch of dried fruits and berries. Using a needle, put pieces of dried apples, pears, plums, apricots on a strong thread, form a lump and hang near the feeder. You can offer the birds the pulp of a pumpkin. Cut through "windows and doors" in it, so that the birds can get inside. They themselves will choose what to try - seeds or pulp. Tie a small pumpkin by the tail with a strong rope and hang it from a thick branch.

Apples that start to spoil should also not be thrown away. Cut the apple in half, put it in a feeder or hang it on a wire.


The seeds of these trees are also called lionfish. Most of them fall from the trees and become inaccessible to birds. Lionfish are harvested in autumn and hung on feeders. Bullfinches, waxwings and some other visitors to bird canteens like to eat them.


Cones are the main food of crossbills and woodpeckers in winter.

Jays have been stocking acorns since autumn, hiding them in secluded places. In winter, hidden food is a good help. Having prepared cones, nuts and acorns since autumn, you can attract not only woodpeckers and jays, but also squirrels to your feeder.


During the nesting period (not necessarily in winter), garden guests still need to be fed foods that contain calcium. You can put pre-boiled, ground eggshells or pieces of chalk to the feeder.


  1. It is strictly forbidden to feed birds with fried, salty (salted fat or meat), sour foods.

  2. You can not give fresh white and especially rye bread, these products cause fermentation in the goiter of the bird.

  3. It is also impossible to feed birds with citrus fruits, banana peels, peanuts, spicy foods, pieces of pies and whites, chips, potatoes.

Date of publication: 11/17/2021

than feed Vorobyov - feed and home conditions

You here: Home / Bird Care / Bird Care

Maya Barsukova •

Vorobs birds for adults and children. But few people thought about how to feed the sparrows, because there has always been the idea that they are omnivores. Some foods can harm the health of these little feathered friends of man.

What to feed a sparrow in a feeder

The most common way to feed birds is bread. However, a long loaf and other flour products can hardly be called a useful food product for sparrows, rather the opposite. Zoologists recommend feeding birds with cereals (rice, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal, barley), as well as many types of seeds. The most popular are sunflower seeds. Seeds should be given raw. As a protein supplement, sparrows can be offered pieces of lard, cut very finely.

It is not recommended to feed the birds with wet seeds or soaked bread, because in the cold they quickly turn into ice, and the bird will not bite through such food.

How to feed a sparrow at home

If it was decided to leave the sparrow at home, then caring for the bird will require some effort and time, you need to be patient. Sparrow eating schedule is frequent, every 1-2 hours. If the sparrow does not receive its food norm on time, it will feel bad and even fatal.

The diet must be complete. Since birds mostly eat grain, for a feathered one you need to buy a mixture of cereals at the pet store. Due to the fact that the sparrow is not a poultry, there is no target food for this species of bird on sale. But if you consult the seller, an experienced specialist will always offer a suitable option for the finished grain mixture.

In addition to cereals, the bird can be given a chopped boiled egg, pieces of raw meat. Insects are also an important part of the diet. In the warm season, you can catch grasshoppers and caterpillars for birds. And in the cold, you will have to go to the pet store and purchase live insects.

In addition to this, you need to feed the sparrow at home with vegetables and fruits, but they should be given only in grated form, since the sparrow's beak is not able to capture large pieces. Gray birds love apples, carrots, beets, bananas, pumpkins, and corn.

What not to feed the sparrows

  1. Black and dried bread. Black bread is contraindicated for sparrows, and stale, hardened bread can disrupt digestion or lead to other diseases of the digestive tract.
  2. Dried insects (flies, cockroaches, crickets). If dead and old insects are found at home, then you can’t feed them to a feathered one, it can get poisoned or die.
  3. Flies and midges stuck to sticky tape.
  4. Stuffing from semi-finished products (dumplings, pasties, dumplings, pancakes with meat).
  5. Cow or powdered milk. Sparrows are lactose intolerant.
  6. Stale mixtures or feed. The bird's stomach is sensitive, so you should check the expiration dates of the goods in stores.
  7. Earthworms. There is an opinion that worms are useful for birds, but they often carry infectious diseases and helminthic invasion, so you should not experiment.
  8. Tablets or vitamins without veterinarian prescription.

What to feed sparrow chicks

If a sparrow chick is without feathers, then it is a few days old. To feed such tender chicks, a liquid feed mixture is needed.

The recipe is as follows:

  • 1 chicken egg - can be replaced with a quail;
  • boiled wheat, approx. 20 gr;
  • raw grated carrots, 15 gr. without juice;
  • finely chopped lettuce, 10 gr;
  • boiled beef, 15 gr;
  • 1 calcium tablet.

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until a liquid, homogeneous consistency.

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