I've written about my feeding the birds around here several times. This lovely chickadee comes to visit me often and is mostly interested in the feeder that has black oil sunflower seeds. (Click any picture to enlarge.) I also have two suet feeders which are visited by woodpeckers, flickers and bushtits, and occasionally the chickadees.
My two nyjer-filled "socks" are only visited by the goldfinch, and they also have an upside-down feeder that is theirs alone. Occasionally a nuthatch will show up. This winter brought the return of the juncos, who left for the summer and fall. On the ground I scatter something called "premium no-grow," with shelled sunflower seed pieces, peanut hearts, and other good stuff. The juncos and the sparrows all come in a flurry when they see I've put this out, since it doesn't last long. The jays and the squirrels think I put it out for them. Here's a jay on the porch eating the no-grow.
I love to feed the birds. It gives me such pleasure to see them, and I know some of them because of unusual markings or, in the case of that favorite sparrow, a broken wing that differentiates him from the others. It means I spend a fair amount of money on birdseed, and it requires me to clean up after them so nobody gets sick, including us. The squirrels and I have an ongoing battle to keep them from eating everything in sight. Even though I chase them away, I would miss them if they didn't come around. Here's the squirrel getting ready to launch onto the porch from the tree.
If I didn't feed the birds, I wouldn't have to chase the squirrels away, because they would soon discover there is nothing here of interest. They would go bother the other people who feed the wildlife. But my dilemma is this: is it wrong to feed the birds? They have become dependent on my handouts, there's no question. They will probably lay more eggs this spring because of me.
It worries me a little because I want to be a good citizen of the planet, of the earth, and I have been wondering lately if my desire to watch the birds up close has been fair to them. What do you think?