Monday, February 26, 2007

Taming Black-capped Chickadees To Eat From Your Hand



Have you ever had the thrill of having a wild bird eat from your hand? I have had birds eat seed and peanuts from my hand several times over the last few years.


Black-capped Chickadees are great little birds and also one of the easiest birds to hand tame.


  • Take your bird feeders down to fill them on a cold morning.

  • While they are down, walk over to a tree or shrub that Chickadees perching in.

  • Have your hand filled with some black oil Sunflower Seeds or peanuts.

  • Hold your palm out extending your arm away from your body but close to the tree/bush.

  • Look away from your hand and try not to move or breath heavy.

  • If you are near some Chickadees, you should get a quick response. They usually start by taking a close look and making scolding sounds. Sometimes, they will make a quick test flight over your hand to check things out. If there are several Chickadees your odds are even better for success.

It's really get to hear the vocalizations of the Chickadee as they contemplate whether or not to take their chances. The sound of their wings fluttering is surprising loud when you are that close to them . It is a strange feeling when they perch on one of your fingers to grab a seed. You can feel the actual grip of their toes hanging on.


I only do this a couple of times a year because I'm not sure if it's a good idea to have the birds become too tame. Anyhow, that's my own twist on how to do it. Other birds may take food from your hand too such as Titmice or Nuthatches. One warning make sure you don't scare your neighbors. One of my neighbors was getting ready to call 911 after they saw me standing like a statue for ten minutes in the middle of winter.

4 comments:

LauraHinNJ said...

I've never tried it, but it is tempting!

Larry said...

What's stopping you?

LauraHinNJ said...

Lack of patience? I don't know. I've read stories of people that sit out in a chair wearing the same clothes day after day to get the birds used to their presence.

Larry said...

I've read all that too. If you try it when 3 or more chickadees are waiting for their food in winter-you might get one in 5 minutes or less.