What Bird Food Do Robins And Sparrows Eat?
The Robin and the House Sparrow are amongst the most common and popular garden visitors. They can be readily attracted with a range of bird food but definitely have a few favourites.
Read on to find out more about these two British favourites and what they like to munch on!
What Bird Food Do Robins Like?
The common European Robin, often pictured on Christmas cards and characterised as the ‘gardeners friend’, is a small insectivorous passerine bird. Insectivorous means ‘insect eating’ – this is the Robins natural and preferred diet.
They enjoy all sorts of small insects, such as beetles and love to eat earthworms – that is why you will often find a robin accompanying a gardener turning soil over. Smart little robins are clever enough to know freshly turned earth means worms!
However, Robins do also enjoy a range of bird foods provided by humans.
If you’re wondering what food to provide for Robins, you might want to try feeding mealworms first. These can be purchased dried or live, with the live mealworms being particularly attractive to Robins.
In addition to mealworms, Robins will also eat more standard bird food such as mixed birdseed. They’re particularly partial to nyjer seeds though. Peanut granules are another Robin favourite – they won’t be interested in whole peanuts as they’re too large for their small beaks.
For a special treat, you can feed Robins with grated cheese and raisins. They’re really not fussy eaters in general and will happily eat a wide range of bird food.
Watch out for Robins fighting around bird feeders though – they’re incredibly territorial birds so its not uncommon to see them fighting over access to bird food!
What Bird Food Do Sparrows Like?
Like Robins, the common House Sparrow is also associated with living near humans and eats a somewhat similar diet. House sparrows do prefer to eat seeds and grains to insects but they’re opportunistic feeders and will take insects when they’re available.
This opportunistic feeding saw the birds persecuted in the past as they will often raid crop fields or allotments in flocks. The bird has a very interesting, and troubled history in general – from association with impending death to being eaten in ‘sparrow pie’, you can read all about the interesting house sparrow here.
According to the RSPB, their numbers have been in decline for a long time, although any regular bird watcher may disagree as it seems like the humble House Sparrow is ubiquitous across a range of environments, including inner cities.
House Sparrows like to eat any type of seed provided and don’t seem to be particularly fussy. They have small beaks so won’t be able to eat large items, but a good quality mixed birdseed is a favourite and will be hoovered up by a flock of them in no time.
Rather than asking what bird food sparrows like to eat, it would be easier to list the foods they don’t like. They’re so opportunistic and unfussy that a BTO Birdwatch Handbook mentioned research conducted in the 1940s found around 838 different types of food in the stomachs of House Sparrows!
Unlike the Robin, Sparrows are extremely sociable and live in colonies together – when they arrive in your garden to take bird food, you will immediately know because of the racket they make when they’re feeding!