how to feed ground feeding birds

How do you feed ground-feeding birds like sparrows in heavy snow? If you toss some seed on the ground as usual, it might be snow-covered within minutes. Birds won’t be able to see it and so might find it challenging to eat. The solution? Provide some cover!

How Best to Feed Ground Feeding Birds

Before discussing how to best accommodate ground feeders, let’s examine the reasons behind some birds’ preference for this type of feeding and the specific birds that belong to this group.

Cautions on Spreading Seed on the Ground

1) On snowy days, it’s simple to get overly excited and scatter excessive amounts of seed. To prevent it from going bad on the moist ground, try to limit it to as much as you believe will be eaten in a given day.

2) On snowy days, seed on the ground can draw sizable mixed flocks of “blackbirds.” While they all need to eat, Common Grackles, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, European Starlings, and Red-Winged Blackbirds can be a bit excessive when they show up in large flocks and frequently chase other birds away. For the local sparrows, I primarily scatter white proso millet, but when large, bothersome flocks show up, I convert to nyjer seed. While the large mixed flocks of “blackbirds” don’t want to eat it, the majority of the sparrows in my area do.

(If you’re having trouble choosing what kind of birdseed to give out; read my post “Seed Choice: What Do Backyard Birds Eat?”) You can also use FeederWatch’s interactive page to find out which local birds are more likely to eat on the ground. ).

Which Birds Are Ground Feeders?

Surprisingly, many of our most well-known garden birds would rather forage on the ground.

Among our most well-known ground-feeding garden birds are probably those belonging to the thrush family. These include Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Mistle and Song Thrushes.

Being omnivores, these birds consume worms and other insects in the summer and fruits, soft seeds, and berries in the fall and winter.

Whether you like them or not, pigeons and collared doves are likely the other most popular species of ground feeders in your yard.

Doves and pigeons, in contrast to thrushes, are granivorous birds that primarily consume grains and hard-husked seeds. Thus, even though both bird species feed on the ground, their diets are very different.

Our garden used to receive frequent visits from pheasants, grouse, and quail when we lived in an open rural area. They are vibrant birds with distinct personalities, and even though they eat a lot, we enjoyed watching them fly around the yard.

The game birds are granivorous, meaning they primarily consume grains and seeds, just like pigeons and collared doves.

Waterfowl such as ducks and coots may pay you visits if you have a large pond or live close to a lake or river.

Finding that ducks don’t get along with hanging bird feeders is not surprising.

Although ducks, coots, and swans primarily consume weed and other aquatic vegetation, they will eat from the ground if given the opportunity, preferring grains, greens, or even specialized duck and swan food. The majority of water birds prefer to feed in the water.

Many other common garden birds prefer to forage on the ground. These include:

It is evident that the ground-feeding birds are a sizable group that will bring a great deal of interest to your garden; feeding them is well worth the time investment.


Can I just throw bird seed in the yard?

u The most common and simplest way to feed ground feeding birds is to simply toss some ground feeding mix (plenty of millet) out onto the ground. Toss it where you can easily see the birds. In the winter, it’s helpful to toss seed onto a cleared patio or cleared spot in your yard.

How do you feed ground feeding birds in the snow?

Consider just tossing some seed out on your deck, patio, or in your yard. The birds don’t mind and some species like cardinals and juncos will be very appreciate of being able to feed on the ground. “I fill an old birdbath with seed. It attracts a lot of ground-feeding birds that typically stay away from feeders.

What is a ground feeding bird?

Ground feeding birds are those which prefer to feed from the ground, not from tables or feeders. Easy to feed, it’s simply a case of casting nuts, pellets and mealworm onto the ground to attract birds such as the blackbird, chaffinch and house sparrow. See below for a comprehensive list of ground feeding birds.