Seed food preferences of granivorous farmland passerines

  • Published source details Perkins A.J., Anderson G. & Wilson J.D. (2007) Seed food preferences of granivorous farmland passerines. Bird Study, 54, 46-53.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for birds or mammals

    A series of randomized, replicated trials at two sites in England in the winters of 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 (Perkins et al. 2007) found that five songbird species took supplementary food when provided and preferentially took wheat over oats and oats over barley. Tree sparrow Passer montanus and reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus also fed on maize, preferring it to all cereals except wheat, whilst house sparrow P. domesticus preferred maize to all cereals. Corn bunting E. calandra and yellowhammer E. citrinella preferred all cereals to maize. Tree sparrow selected both cereals and oily seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds, oilseed rape) but avoided rye grass seed. All species preferred cereals to sunflower seeds and none showed any distinction between wheat and a ‘weed seed mix’. At one site, food was provided in tubular feeders, in the other it was heaped on the ground. Survival rates of birds were not monitored.


Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 20

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered speciesVincet Wildlife Trust