Before our family got a dog two years ago, my only pets were the critters outdoors. However, they were great pets! No cleaning, no cages, no vet bills, and no barking! I kind of gave up on a true bird feeder, because the squirrels dumped out the food no matter what.
So, one day I decided to get a dish that would make a good ground feeder...a round plastic terra cotta tray that is made to sit under a large flower pot. For $3, I had an excellent feeding dish for my critters. Having the dish of birdseed on the ground turned out to be a great way to gain more pets! Not only the Juncos, Cardinals, and Doves came to The Critter Cafe...but many other creatures. We've enjoyed watching chipmunks suck up pouches full of seed to carry back to their nests, Mallard ducks come to feed and nap in our yard, plus bunny rabbits, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and more.
They don't cause any problems...in fact I think they leave my garden and the garbage alone better since I provide other treats for them. And we've really enjoyed observing this nature expo through the kitchen window. After a fresh snow fall, there are usually various tracks all around the dish, as they've made an early morning visit to feed. I love it! God says that all good gifts are from Him. Enjoy the ones in your own backyard.