White-throated Sparrow – Native Sparrow


So how do you get native birds? With Conservation Landscaping, a sustainable way to take cues from nature. I believe it is why this particular sparrow remains in Winter.


There are many native Sparrows, so not all Sparrows should be discouraged from visiting feeders. The White-throated Sparrows are just so darn cute hiding in the thickets, then quickly emerging, hopping along in the snow to snag some food. While rarer in gardens, they occasionally do visit my garden in winter.


A key to having them is to have thickets and hedgerows near your feeders. Also they like the seed of many meadow plants. In my own garden, I let the turf grass grow long especially late in the year. I often see sparrows feeding amongst the ground weeds gone to seed, like the plantain and dandelion in September.


Below is White Crowned Sparrow looking content just outside the shelter plant, Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’. He was just feeding on perennials gone to seed.

White Crowned Sparrow

White Crowned Sparrow

If you have a larger property, try Juniperus virginiana, a favorite of Cedar Waxwings, Bluebirds, Robins, Cardinals and Downy Woodpeckers. Also the hairstreak butterfly uses it as a host plant. It naturalizes in urban conditions, but the species does need room to grow to 50-70 feet with a 35 minimum foot spread. Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’, is a cultivar that grows to 30 feet and only 3 feet wide. Pyramidal varieties, ‘Glauca’, ‘Canaertii’ and ‘Emerald Sentinel’ are female fruiting that are smaller than the species. There are spreading varieties also.

Common Juniper is another native variety used as a shrub. They grow in a wide variety of forms from rounded to upright. The Spartan juniper is used as a shelter plant because cats don’t really like the scratchy texture and it is a tall plant that the birds just adore.


Certain birds need what you see in the next photo. It is an example of having the three layers of vegetation that make up a natural forest. It also has the downed trees which many species find desirable.


I had to wait longer to capture these images of the sparrow than I do for many species of bird. These two sparrows wait until other birds are finished feeding before emerging from the safety of the understory plants. This White-throated is a great example of why, if you can do it, to maintain or create Conservation Landscaping.



About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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27 Responses to White-throated Sparrow – Native Sparrow

  1. Those are great suggestions.

  2. lulu says:

    Super work with your camera!

  3. Dina says:

    Absoultely wonderful !

  4. Informative post and wonderful photos!

  5. swo8 says:

    Lovely photos, Donna.

  6. aussiebirder says:

    Lovely little bird Donna, it is good that you can honour a native sparrow, our two are both ferile imports from England.

  7. Snow! Looks so strange when it’s summer here… I don’t feed birds as I’ve been told it’s not good for the local birds here in Tasmania. Plus we don’t have the harsh winters you have. A constant supply of water, especially in summer, is a good way to attract and help birds here. And planting lots of natives and other food plants. I currently have a flock of Musk Lorikeets in my plum tree outside, they are really noisy but hilarious to watch as they eat, perform all sorts of acrobatics (eating upside down!) and fight over the best spots. Great fun.

  8. We enjoy the white-throated sparrows here during the winter months. They are pretty abundant on our property and like to visit the perennials searching for seeds. I also often see them eating the sumac berries. Enjoyed this post!

  9. Very informative, Donna. We seem to be overrun with sparrows the last couple of years. They’ve taken up residence in the purple martin house (condo) near my kitchen garden where they steal my seeds. I’m not happy with them. P. x

  10. We’ve had this cutie in our garden in the past, too, but I haven’t seen any this winter. Thanks for sharing your great photos and info about this special avian friend, Donna.

  11. Karen says:

    Donna, I never realized there were native sparrows. I’ll be looking more closely at the visitors to the bird feeders now.

  12. Brian Comeau says:

    They are fun to watch. Curious little things.

  13. Karen says:

    When we had our orchard, we always dumped our fallen apples at the edge of the woods for the birds and small animals to eat. Also that is where we made piles of cut branches as a safety spot for them to escape from predators. Here in Florida, where it is green all year, the birds always have a source of food available.

  14. Donna, I noticed that you have a photo of the non-native English sparrow, third from the bottom of your post.

    This sparrow should NOT be confused with the delightful White Crowed native sparrow, as the English (black bib on male) are highly predatory towards our beloved Eastern Bluebirds!!!

    The English should be discouraged from feeders and nesting. Eggs can/should be destroyed, as this helps protect our bluebirds from this non-native predator.

    I am a trained Bluebird Monitor and I stay on guard for the English sparrows, as they compete for Bluebird nest boxes and will kill any nesting bluebird adults AND chicks.

    Please either explain this in your blog or remove that photo, so readers are not confused. Thanks, Diane

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