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The sparrow does not stand out in color with its brownish plumage, but it is one of the best-known native wild birds. You can find out what food the sparrows, which live in Germany all year round, eat here.

In a nutshell

  • feed mostly plant-based foods
  • near-natural garden offers a wide range of food
  • year-round feeding recommended by experts
  • feed particularly high-fat in winter
  • Protect feed from contamination


The bird colloquially known as the sparrow is more correctly known as the house sparrow (Passer domesticus). With a size of up to 15 centimeters and a maximum weight of ten grams, it is one of the smallest native wild birds. In order to provide species-appropriate feed, it is therefore necessary to know and take into account the different eating habits.

In principle, adult sparrows eat vegetarian food, whereby the young birds are additionally fed with insects by their parents.

Lining for the summer

The selection of sparrow-friendly foods is immense, especially in summer. In a natural garden, the house sparrow can generally provide for itself with all kinds of fruits and seeds. In rock gardens or in low-maintenance monocultures, however, this is almost impossible. Due to the one-sided planting, there are only a few locations for wild birds and their young animals to find adequate food. In order to prepare a sparrow-friendly garden, however, it is advisable to provide suitable feed. These include:

  • Cereal seeds such as hemp, millet and wheat
  • sunflower seeds
  • raisins
  • oatmeal
  • Corn
  • (Dried herbs
  • Berry

Tip: It is also advisable to add mealworms or insect larvae to feed the young birds.

fodder for the winter

During the cold season, the sparrows find it much more difficult to find food, even in natural gardens. The animals need enough energy to avoid freezing to death, especially when it is cold. Supplementary feeding with particularly high-energy foods such as fatty seeds and nuts is therefore recommended.

Suitable dietary supplements for the winter are:

  • hazelnuts
  • peanuts
  • walnuts
  • alder seeds
  • soy

Making your own winter fat feed

There is a huge selection of ready-made feed mixtures for wild birds, although not all types are suitable for sparrows due to their composition. However, a balanced and species-appropriate fat feed can also be produced at home in just a few simple steps. The basis of the feed is vegetable fat, which is enriched with various seeds and nuts.

The manufacturing process is as follows:

  • Heat 200 milliliters of vegetable fat
  • Add 100 grams of the selected seeds and mix well
  • Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes
  • Form balls and incorporate thread for hanging
  • Leave the food balls to cool for several days

The composition can be made individually, whereby the mixing ratio for a solid consistency should be 2 to 1.

Tip: With a ratio of six parts fat to one part seeds, a much more liquid consistency is achieved. The resulting pulp can then be spread on tree bark and branches or served in bowls.

feeding options

The bird feeder is one of the most well-known ways of offering food to birds. The problem with this method, however, is that the animals are in constant contact with the food and contamination by faeces and bacteria is therefore almost unavoidable. In addition, a bird house offers little protection against the weather, so that rain and snow may cause mold on the food.

In comparison, a feed silo protects the food contained in it from both the eating animals and the weather. While the food is poured in from above, the animals can only take it out from below.

Notice: Despite the airtight seal, the feed silo should be cleaned at least every six months.

frequently asked Questions

Which foods are unsuitable as sparrow food?

However, by no means all foods are suitable for feeding the sparrows. In particular, processed foods such as pasta and baked goods or organic waste should not be fed. In most cases, these lead to problems in the gastrointestinal tract and thus to the death of the birds.

How can species-appropriate sparrow food be produced for the summer?

In addition to the aforementioned production of your own fat feed, you can also use thin nets to produce appropriate feed dumplings for the summer. For this purpose, the food to be used is chopped up and placed in a bag.

How do conservation organizations view year-round feeding of sparrows?

Due to the further declining habitats for animals of all kinds, but especially wild birds, all relevant institutions recommend year-round feeding in order to maintain the populations.

What about the water supply for the sparrows?

In addition to dwindling food sources, it is just as difficult to obtain clean drinking water for the sparrows. Especially in the warm summer months, the wild birds need enough liquid to drink, but also to cool down. Several two to three centimeter deep plates that are filled with rainwater cover the need.

How can I make my garden sparrow-friendly?

Certain hedges and shrubs offer the birds protection, but at the same time serve as an optimal source of food for plant and animal feed. Hornbeams, privet, yews and red beeches are among the retreats preferred by sparrows.

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