Birds land on the hand that feeds them

Have you imagined holding a wild bird? Few of us have seen birds fly away when we approach, except bird banders.  

Some birds' innate wariness can be overcome, and the black-capped chickadee is foremost. These little birds are always the first to try a new feeder or explore a new habitat because to their curiosity and adventure.  

Chickadees are interested and can be trained to eat from your hand if you're patient. (I don't like handling wildlife, but training wild songbirds to come to me seems harmless.  

Some start by placing a glove on a deck railing or chair near their feeders and dumping a handful of sunflower seeds daily. Once chickadees start eating this way, put on the glove, seeds in palm, and hold out.  

Some, like Janie Birr, forgo this step and sit by their feeders with sunflower seeds. Try this for 20 minutes daily at the same time that chickadees visit your feeders.  

Jay Dobbs stood outside with a handful of seeds for 30 minutes at a time. First tiny bird landed on his fingers on day two. After one 'dee breaks the ice, others will follow.  

It feels like what? Some claim the birds drop upon a finger like a heavy snowfall, scarcely discernible.  

Birr appreciates the birds' personalities that approach her hand. "There'll be a picky one, poking through all the seeds, and cautious ones that hover but won't land, and assertive ones that come in so fast they almost crash-land."  

Phyllis Terchanik took her great-nephews to a park where a naturalist had hand-fed birds for years. The lads were surprised when tufted titmice landed on their jacket parkas and chickadees flew in to grab seeds.  

Handfeeding may also occur with nuthatches and goldfinches. No matter the season, this works. Kids especially enjoy this safe approach to connect with nature.