These include the song sparrow, chipping sparrow, and field sparrow (but not the so-called house sparrow, which is actually a weaver finch). Although most of the sparrows’ diet is seed, it consists of more than one-third insects, especially during the nesting season. Sparrow seed eating is even garden friendly. They prefer weed seeds, such as from crabgrass, ragweed, and pigweed.
Their insect choices include grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, leafhoppers, true bugs, ants, and beetles. One warning, though: In warmer parts of the country, sparrows sometimes supplement their diet with winter garden crops—clipping off seedlings and sprouts. In these areas, just protect young seedlings with row covers or mesh screening.
To make it easy for the birds to nest along the perimeter of your yard, provide nesting materials like straw, bark, and pieces of string. Sparrows raise two or three broods per year.
Photo: (cc) Paul Stein/Flickr