Not being content to feed 6 dogs, 4 cats and 4 horses, I’ve started feeding the birds in my front yard. Two sunflower feeders, a tube feeder with six stations and a tray, and a thistle seed tube feeder. The birds are flocking to the feeders, to the point where I’m topping off each feeder every day because they’re half empty, except for the thistle feeder - I never see birds at that. I also have a suet feeder and rarely see birds on that.
I get a lot of gold finches (5 at one time!), indigo buntings, cardinals and mourning doves, plus the usual assortment of chickadees, sparrows, and little brown birds.
Being new to the bird feeding game, is there anything else I should do? Any tips where to get cheaper feed? I don’t have squirrels - 6 dogs keep them out of the yard. I don’t have to worry about the cats - the two house cats stay inside and the barn cats stay 600 ft away in the barn. I wedged a horse feed pan into the tree with water in it when it was very dry. I put a rock in it to make a ledge so small birds could get a drink without drowning. My sister says I shouldn’t feed the birds because they need to learn to forage for themselves - am I setting my birds up for a lifetime in a welfare state?
Please list your feeding and birdwatching tips, birds seen, etc.