Life is flourishing on my back patio. There are four different bird feeders, plus I put out corn or peanuts for the squirrels. I used to see mice occasionally around dusk. However, I recently discovered that things get a lot more active after dark and they have become regulars. With the windows open during the summer evenings I could hear a lot of rattling around the feeder. They come from the neighbors yard up the tree over the roof of the garage and then over the gate to the patio to the feeder or they come from the opposite side of the roof through the vines over the fence onto the feeder. Once they hit the feeder, they will climb over one another to get to the food. Sometimes there could be five or six of them at at time. Returning throughout the night, this level of activity started to rapidly diminish the food in feeder. The mice started getting more food than the birds. Now I bring the feeder into my laundry room at night. There is plenty of seed on the ground for them to pick up.
The only problem with the food on the ground is that they are more vulnerable. The other morning I found a dead one, right near the back door presumably left from the cat who had been outside keeping the ecosystem in check. The same day I found a little baby one who had fallen into an empty pot under one of my plants that had drowned in a few inches of water which had collected from a plant sitting on a table above it. One thing that I have noticed over the years is that if life is thriving, there is also a greater chance that I will also see the other side of life for a small percentage. It is all part of a healthy ecosystem.