I bought my husband a bird feeder for Christmas of 2011. He had been dropping hints about getting one for a few months, and I thought it was a fairly low maintenance “pet” that the entire family could enjoy. Over the past year, we've spent a lot of time observing the different birds that come to the feeder, and our daughter can name most of the bird visitors from seeing them or from their call (in the case of the blue jay, which tends to be loud).
The bird feeder is in the front of our house, and one day last spring I noticed a little finch that seemed to be building a nest above the light by our garage. I didn’t do anything to stop it, and soon we had a full nest with mama finch and all. I mentioned the poorly placed bird nest to someone and their response was, “Why do birds think they can take over our environment: it’s not like we take over theirs”. Um... I think we already have! The one mature tree we have in our yard is pretty clear evidence that humans have had a drastic impact on the environment.
The birds were pretty determined to have their nest directly by our garage, and we were determined to not bother them. Later we noticed three baby birds residing in the nest, and soon there were three extremely tame little finches that visited our feeder. The birds had left the nest, and our light fixture had been a fine home. This fall and winter we have regularly noticed our incredibly tame fledglings visiting the feeder and everyone has taken joy in seeing them grow and flourish.
Being able to have a low impact on the environment is important to our family and we strive to do that in as many ways as possible: from respecting wildlife, to cloth diapering our kids.