Don’t Forget to Feed Our Native Sparrows

There are many native sparrows that you can attract to your backyard!

Most of the time when I mention sparrows, birders think mostly about the non-native House Sparrows and the harm that they are doing to some of our native birds. But it’s important to remember some of the other amazing sparrows that you could be attracting to your backyard. One simple way to attract many of our native sparrows is to start a seed pile in your yard. The majority of these species prefer to feed on the ground and are unlikely to come to more traditional hanging feeders. By just tossing some seed out in your yard, you just might get to see some new and exciting sparrows! If you don’t want to have seed all over the ground, you can use a simple tray feeder with legs that sits close to the ground. The sparrows will still feel comfortable with the low tray and you can avoid the mess of seed everywhere.

Here are some of my favorite sparrows that will come in to a seed pile.

American Tree Sparrows are very common visitors at seed piles throughout much of the northern 2/3 of the US and all of Canada during the winter months. (Check out their range map on eBird)American Tree Sparrows are very common visitors at seed piles throughout much of the northern 2/3 of the US and all of Canada during the winter months. (Check out their range map on eBird)
American Tree Sparrows are very common visitors at seed piles throughout much of the northern 2/3 of the US and all of Canada during the winter months. (Check out their range map on eBird)
White-throated Sparrows are another common visitor at seed piles. (Check out their range map on eBird)White-throated Sparrows are another common visitor at seed piles. (Check out their range map on eBird)
White-throated Sparrows are another common visitor at seed piles. (Check out their range map on eBird)
Depending on season and location, sometime large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows can be found at seed piles. (Check out their range map on eBird)Depending on season and location, sometime large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows can be found at seed piles. (Check out their range map on eBird)
Depending on season and location, sometime large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows can be found at seed piles. (Check out their range map on eBird)
Fox Sparrows are slightly less common visitors at seed piles. This photo was taken in the Eastern US but if you live out West, you Fox Sparrows might look a little differed! (Check out their range map on eBird)Fox Sparrows are slightly less common visitors at seed piles. This photo was taken in the Eastern US but if you live out West, you Fox Sparrows might look a little differed! (Check out their range map on eBird)
Fox Sparrows are slightly less common visitors at seed piles. This photo was taken in the Eastern US but if you live out West, you Fox Sparrows might look a little different! (Check out their range map on eBird)

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.