We have been feeding the birds outside for almost a year now, since last summer. I have a hanging tray with a mesh bottom I fill with seed every day, and a vertical suet feeder with a tail prop. Mostly we get house sparrows – even though they’re not supposed to like black oil sunflower seeds, or perching vertically on a suet feeder – but also a pair of chickadees, some nuthatches, the migrating junco, and now a pair of house finches. There’s even a tiny mouse that whisks out of a tree stump to clean up any crumbs the bossy, messy sparrows toss over the edge. A northern flicker is thinking about building a nest in the tree but has since abandoned the effort (we are glad, because it’s in a spot accessible to cats.) I have an app on my phone that lets us identify the birds quickly and easily, which is how we found out there’s a little merlin too, swooping around the neighbourhood and crying. It seems this year there are more birds, brought around by the regular food. (Feeding birds is okay and helps support bird populations.) People who can’t get out much, and cats, also appreciate bird feeders placed within sight of the house. It’s a commitment, though – bird feeding is not just for fair weather – and I worry a bit about what will happen when we move houses. But I do what I can while I’m here.