There are debates of whether or not it is “right” to feed wild birds but for the most part, keeping clean feeders with a variety of seed can provide needed fuel for birds and excellent opportunities for observing them.
There are a multitude of types of feeders and kinds of food to provide but here is a brief summary:
- Sunflower seeds: good for Northern Cardinals, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, sparrows, and any other seed-eating birds
- Suet: good for woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, creepers, and many more – in some ways suet is more universal than various seed types because non seed-eaters will come to eat
- Fruit: good for orioles and tanagers
- Thistle seed: good for finches and Pine Siskins and any other birds with smaller bills
- Sugar water: for hummingbirds, orioles, and woodpeckers
There is much more specific information about feeding birds all over the internet and in bird books. But the basic point is that feeding birds allows for the opportunity to attract birds in close for long periods of observation.
We are actually doing a small unscientific study on not feeding birds. We hope to have some information in the upcoming months about the results.