Are bird feeders good or bad?
Maybe good, in that they help birds survive in lean times. Maybe bad, because they keep birds from foraging on their own. And all that food seems to distract them, making them an easy target for cats, which decimate bird populations (Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" describes this well with accurate numbers).
The Complete and Total Loser's mother, who would have been 83 last weekend, liked bird feeders. The Loser would argue against her policy of keeping them filled all summer but she did it anyway. Good old Mom. The Loser hasn't filled them in the summers he's lived in his dead parents' house the past two years, but does after severe weather, like this year's winter. The birds fight each other for the cold seeds.