What do sparrows eat in the wild?

Let’s talk about what sparrows eat.

You can recognize these birds by their lively fluttering in the city streets. These active and cheerful birds survive even in severe frosts, as they do not neglect the food they come across. Sparrows are characterized by such traits as cunning, agility, and courage. In this article, you’ll learn about the birds’ seasonal food preferences, as well as how to fatten a sparrow in your hands at home.

The benefits and harms of sparrows

Sparrows belong to omnivorous birds. It is known that a flock of these birds can destroy an entire field of grain in just a few days. However, there are benefits to these voracious birds as well. They prey on harmful insects, the population of which, if unchecked, causes even greater damage to agriculture than the sparrows themselves.

History remembers a case from the last century when, after the mass extermination of sparrows in China, crops were destroyed by beetles and caterpillars. The Chinese were then forced to artificially breed sparrows by purchasing them from neighboring countries.

This shows that small, voracious sparrows are an indispensable cog in the ecosystem, doing important work in it.

Field and house sparrows

People are most familiar with two species of sparrows: house sparrows and field sparrows.

Field sparrows resemble adult male house sparrows in appearance. Their physique has a more graceful shape and the body length is 12-14 cm.

The main distinguishing feature between the species is the different colors of the plumage on the crown. The field sparrow is bright brown, while the house sparrow is dark brown. In the area of the neck and head of the field sparrow, there are dark blotches in the form of spots, and the “collar” is colored white. The wings of house sparrows have one light stripe on them, while those of field sparrows have two.

As for gastronomic preferences, these species have completely the same preferences.

What do sparrows eat in spring?

The mating and nesting period of birds begins with the onset of the first heat. By this time, buds already appear on trees. They become the main nutritious food for sparrows.

While the female is incubating her eggs, her partner is busy procuring food for both of them. Spring food for sparrows includes earthworms, flies, caterpillars, and other critters that have crawled out in the sun after winter. This food is also good for newly hatched chicks.

During the spring months, sparrows benefit the most, as they catch harmful insects not only for themselves but also for their offspring. Statistics show that during this period one pair destroys up to three kilograms of pests per month.

At the same time, sparrows do not stop raiding garden trees and other crops, eating their buds and seeds.

What do sparrows eat in summer?

During the hot season, there is plenty of food for the feathery sparrows. Here’s what sparrows eat in the summer:

  • Beetles;
  • larvae;
  • caterpillars;
  • locusts;
  • butterflies;
  • cereals (wheat, oats, millet);
  • seeds; berries; fruits;
  • food waste.

Sparrows in the city and the countryside are found at every turn. There are plenty of them in parks, squares, vegetable gardens, fields, as well as near cafes and garbage cans. In summer, birds become especially harmful. Not only do they destroy crops, but also spoil the harvest of ripe fruit on trees. Also, the birds peck grapes and other berries that have ripened by then.

In this regard, agriculture is engaged in controlling the number of sparrows. In this way, a balance is maintained that does not allow both birds and insect pests to actively reproduce.

What do sparrows eat in winter?

Sparrows begin to have serious trouble finding food in the winter. Trees and the ground are left without fruit, and insects disappear completely. This greatly narrows the food search. Birds often die of starvation.

Of the food sources for sparrows, urban dumps, winter berries, cereal-processing plants, and public eating places remain.

Fortunately, humans come to the aid of sparrows in winter by setting up feeders and filling them with bread, grains, sausage, cheese, bits of lard, and other bird treats.

Features of sparrow feeding

To save starving sparrows in winter, you must build a bird feeder that is suitable for them.

To avoid being neighbors with large birds, build a small-sized structure for sparrows. Anything you can think of, such as a plastic bottle or box, will do. Make a hole in it through which only small birds can enter unhindered.

Nutritious food for the sparrow in the winter months is a mix of cereals, leftovers from our table, including bread and protein products, nuts, cereals, seeds. Meat pieces are recommended to be strung on a thick thread and hung from the top of the feeder.

Fill the feeder regularly, as sparrows will stop visiting it if it is empty for a long time.

Feeding a chick sparrow at home

If you find a baby sparrow that has fallen out of the nest and wants to save it from starvation, take care of proper nutrition for the chick. In the wild, its diet consists mainly of insects.

It is not easy to get such food, so give the little sparrow boiled lean meat, pureed in half with oatmeal or crushed boiled egg. Bread baby can be fed no more than once in three days, pre-soaked slice in milk.

The vegetable diet of the nestling sparrow is boiled and pureed beets, carrots, and grated cucumber. Drain excess juice from the vegetables beforehand. Calcium will be obtained by including ground chalk in the menu.

Do not salt cooked products.

If the baby refuses food, gently push it down its throat, holding its open beak with tweezers. Feed the sparrow with water, using an eyedropper.

Feed the little sparrow every two hours. If you feel you can’t handle it all, don’t pick up the fallen chicks.

Principles of caring for a sick sparrow

It happens that an adult sparrow comes into human hands with a physical defect or ailment. A balanced diet will help to get him out.

Protein should be the basis of the menu. Insects (worms and larvae) can be purchased at a fishing store or pet store. If they are difficult to obtain, give preference to parrot food, berries, boiled or raw meat, grated boiled carrots, chicken eggs, and fresh clean water. If vitamins are lacking, introduce a special mixture into the diet that the veterinarian recommends.

If the bird can eat on its own, put a feeder with food and water in front of it. Otherwise, use tweezers and a dropper.

Foods that are forbidden to sparrows

Exclude rye and baked goods containing it from the sparrow’s home diet. This cereal lowers the acidity of the stomach, which leads to an upset digestive system of the bird.

Also, eliminate smoked and salty foods from the bird’s diet. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds are only suitable in raw form. All fried foods, including seeds, cause irregularities in the body.

Be careful with pulses, too. They are rich in protein, but they hinder proper digestion.

Of course, in the wild, sparrows don’t shun these foods because it’s all about survival. But if you do not want the bird to stain your home with numerous feces and die of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, heed our advice. If you learned something new and interesting from this article, leave a comment under it, and share it with your friends on social networks.

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