Feeding Wild Animals
It sounds like such a fine idea. It sounds like you are being kind to the helpless. It sounds like such a Noble thing to do. I am going to warn you, feeding the wild animals around your home can get you into trouble. It can also not be a good idea for the animals either....they come to depend on it and get lazy (remind you of anything/anyone/humans???)
You might even need to check local laws. In some areas it is illegal to feed wild birds and or wild animals. Some birds will not move on, to their winter or summer homes, if dependent on people setting out a meal for them and it can lead to their death.
If you feed wild birds at your place - squirrels, raccoons and or skunks usually follow close behind. Then of course the fox and coyotes and or wolves will show up for the fresh squirrel, raccoons and yes, even skunk's meat.
By feeding, say the squirrels, a person might not understand that if the squirrels come and hang out at your place, so will the animals that eat squirrels. I know, I know, in our politically correct world we are not taught such things as predators and wild animal dangers, but they are out there all the same.
Don't be surprised one day, if you feed wild birds and or small animals, to open your front door and find a bear or cougar right in your front yard. Yes, they might hurt you. They are after all there for their free/easy meal too. Bears can and often have gotten pushy with people and or homes that feed them when they show up and their meal is not waiting for them.
Then there are your own domestic animals to consider. If you have a cat or dog, it might find that the wild animals will challenge them on your porch or in your yard....and some may carry rabies. You might be surprised to find that one of the animals you have been feeding, knowingly or unknowingly, might just eat your cat and or dog too. If you have chickens and feed wild animals they might find they enjoy your chickens more then what ever it is you are serving from your home kitchen. And once they find out you have chickens and or other tasty animals/bird for them to eat, such as rabbits or duck or geese or.... they do not stop coming back even if you stop serving.
Animals could not read a sign, if you stuck it in your yard, saying such things like "Deer Only", or "This meal is only for the birds" or how about "No Bear or Skunk Allowed". You might think that only the deer eat a certain type of food, or only certain birds will show up for certain types of seed, not so, when animals are hungry or used to a free meal, they will eat what you serve. So this also means you will also be "drawing in" all types of animals including vermin. Vermin draw in snakes. In our area we have rattlesnakes and we try to keep vermin at bay. Vermin will/can also get into your pet/livestock feed and can cause illness that may cost your domestic animals their lives.
What is really a shame is when one neighbor is feeding the animals and drawing them in only to be shot/killed/trapped by another neighbor who does not want them near their place. We even knew of people that would hunt in the area that other's fed deer. Seems wrong to me. Do I even need to mention the trouble between neighbors this can start?
Animals will not think twice about scratching their butts on your siding or pooping on your porch. Have you ever seen an area that geese have been feeding in? Imagine that on your deck or porch, yuck! The animals might look around in your garage and decide is is a good place to raise a family, with the free food so close and all. If you are sick or away for a week they will not understand where the food is and might try to help themselves by breaking your doors or windows or such.
So if you decide that you want to watch the wildlife out your front window this winter, think it though, make sure you understand what can come of it, before heading to the store to buy that wild bird seed.