Food is cheap, yet one of the main natural limitations on population size.
With modern agricultural techniques, we humans have a great deal of food
to spare (or, at least, those of us in developed countries generally do).
By purchasing cheap food, eg. grain, and distributing it in the countryside
(particularly in winter or other times of natural scarcity), increase the
size of local populations of consumers of that food.
Food and distribution costs - variable depending on the scale of the project.
It could range from a few handfuls of grain in someone's garden, to a massive
The value of life over death for the animals concerned.
Depends on the scale of the project, but likely to be reasonable compared to
the costs. The advice of an ecologist should be sought before promoting this
project in the large - there may be negative effects on the local
ecosystem if the population dynamics are altered.
The scope of this project is obviously not limited to helping birds (it
could be applied to many types of wildlife) - it merely reflects the inspiration
behind this idea. When debating the ethics of shooting with hunt-scum
blood-junkies, the only significant positive consequence they could point to
was the positive effect on local wildlife caused by them putting out a lot of
food to keep the birds in the area. (The pleasure they get from it is
insignificant next to the suffering they cause.) Of course, they could still
feed the wildlife without shooting them, but they won't do that.