Giving Up on Feeders

I know there are "squirrel proof" and "raccoon resistant" feeders out there; in fact, I've tried quite a few over the years without much success.  I truly don't mind if those critters snack on the birdseed but, in most cases, they also destroy the feeders.

So I've decided to offer the handouts in a natural setting, a small section of our backyard along the edge of a wood border.  Nearly surrounded by shrubs and thickets, this plot will be sprinkled with a mix of seeds every few days; since I only provide handouts during the colder months, I'm not concerned that the seeds will spoil (some, of course, will likely yield sunflowers next summer).  Close enough to observe from our picture window or deck, this feeding area is far enough from the house to avoid window collisions; in addition, the surrounding vegetation offers cover from predators (primarily domestic cats and accipiters).

So far, my naturalized feeding has been a success, attracting an excellent mix of permanent and winter residents.  Ground feeders (sparrows, juncos, doves, blue jays, cardinals) are especially common while chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and finches, snare seeds from the shrubs or grab them off the leaf litter to consume on an overhanging branch.  In addition, the activity of these seed-eaters, attracts flickers, woodpeckers, cedar waxwings, Carolina wrens and yellow-rumped warblers into the yard (squirrels and raccoons are welcome too!).  Then there are the advantages for feeders to buy, hang, clean, repair or recycle.