Evidence that support feeding wild birds benefits them is the fact that we seem to be onto our third batch of fledglings of robins, coal tits, blue tits and great tits.
Where there is a good source of food, the parent birds can recover quickly from their efforts to feed their young. They can get back into breeding condition and hatch another brood quite quickly after the last. We have a lot of different feeders out. Three hanging mesh trays, 6 mesh nut feeders, 3 ground trays, and a multi story tray feeder in the side garden that I made out of an upside down pan stand with plant saucers for trays. What you put the food in doesn’t have to be fancy it just has to be accessible. This multi story feeder below is also used by field mice. I put an infrared camera out to see what was eating the food overnight, so we have some very happy mice. I don’t mind feeding them too. They don’t come into the house, so it’s not an issue.
I have a feeding station right outside the front window which is where I can get close up photos and videos of the visitors. They have become so used to seeing me through the window that they don’t fly away when I go in for a shot. This area seems to have turned into the creche, so the little ones don’t know to be afraid. They come onto the window sill and look in at me, and definitely let me know when their preferred option in the tray is running low. They’ll peck the glass to get my attention.
When you start feeding wild birds, you don’t realise how much they will suck you into watching them all the time. Over a period of time the varieties that visit will increase as birds identify a good location by watching for the activity of other birds in the area. Migrating birds will stop by for a quick take away, however they will extend their stay if there is a selection of foods. Peanuts are a great staple as are sunflower hearts, but having other options keeps them hanging around for a while.