Feeding Birds in the Backyard
There are many books devoted to the subject, but you can get started very simply. Here are a few tips we have picked up over the years. While you can get started by simply buying a feeder, maybe already filled with feed, and slapping it up in a tree, you can increase your enjoyment by doing a little planning ahead.
First, try to locate your feeders out in the open, but not too far from cover. Locating the feeders too close to the trees will make control of the Bushy Tail Rats nearly impossible. The little bas...er, jerks can jump 10 feet sideways, and can increase that by climbing above the height of the target (we've seen 'em do it!). At first you will find their antics entertaining, until you realize how much damage they are doing to your feeders, and how much of your "bird" feed is contributing not to the local bird population, but to the local rodent population! We have our best results by using a pole that is at least 15 feet from any tree, and we try to keep limbs trimmed within that radius to a height of at least 10 feet above the feeders. But you do want to keep cover nearby...your feeding station will become a delicatessen for the local hawks. Obviously, you also want to pick a location that you can see from your desired watching post.
We bought our first feeder pole from a bird watcher store, but you can make one yourself out of galvanized pipe and fittings. Just be sure it is set securely in the ground, so the BTRs won't knock it down when they make their inevitable attempts to jump to the feeders. The feeders also represent a substantial wind load, so if you are in a windy area, beef up the mount more than usual. Using the fittings, put in 1 to 2 foot horizontal arms at the top to hold the number of feeders you want on the pole (no more than four). Make sure the base of the feeders are at least eight feet off of the ground. Keep a stepladder handy for servicing.
What type of feeder do you want to get? Well, what type of bird do you want to attract? Actually, the type of feed determines what type of birds you will see, more than the type of feeder. If you are only putting out one feeder, get a wild bird mix. It has a little of everything. Or you can try black oil sunflower seed...almost every seed-eating bird will eat those. We have out a couple of cedar "house" feeders, one with mixed seed and one with black oil sunflower seed. Then we have a tube feeder with a bottom tray. These can be rigged with or without perches to attract either perchers or clingers. In our experience, you will see a little bit of everything no matter how it is rigged. We alternate between mixed seed and black oil sunflower in this one. We have also put up a homemade peanut feeder for shelled raw peanuts. Finally, at another location, we keep at least one peanut suet cake. Although intended primarily for winter feeding, we keep one out year round. You will find the suet cakes in many different flavors. Of course, experiment if you like, but we'll bet you will end up using exclusively the peanut suet.
Next, consider placing a tray or something similar on the ground. In it you can put some cracked corn and other feed. This will keep the more timid BTRs out of your feeders, but you will have to be diligent. Also you will find that some birds prefer to feed on the ground. Try to locate the tray close to convenient bird cover, but not too close to cat cover.

Seasonally, you may want to augment your normal feed, like putting out thistle for goldfinches in spring and fall. You can get special tube feeders, with the tiny slots for the thistle seed, and perches (goldfinches are not clingers, unless they have to). Try to get one without a tray, so the thistle hulls don't create a soggy mess in the tray. Also you will want to put out a hummingbird feeder during the summer. You can get them with or without perches. Our experience indicates that the Rubythroats want perches. Get a couple so you can rotate them, or get more and feed more hummers. Our hummers are very territorial, so with a half dozen feeders out, we feed about a half dozen hummers. The dominant one runs the others off. But you will see multiple hits during migration time, when no one has established a claim, or when the dominant one gets overwhelmed! Since we have been hearing about sightings of Rufous Hummingbirds in this area during the winter, we keep one hummer feeder up year round. No hits yet, though.
Keep your feed in a galvanized steel garbage can with the lids chained shut. Don't even consider the cheaper plastic cans...the BTRs will chew them up. Put the cans up on some landscape timbers so the bottoms don't rust out. You want to keep the feed outside, especially if you get it from a feed and seed store, because it will likely have some "extra ingredients", like roaches or mice. "Bird Store" feed will likely be cleaner, but you will pay more for it, sometimes a lot more. We buy most of our feed from the local feed and seed, but occasionally we'll pick up some from the bird stores...we like to support everyone we can.