Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feed the birds part 2

In the winter, one of my morning duties -- if Jeannine hasn't already taken care of it  (and I am doing it quite often this winter, being the first one in a long time when I am getting up at the same time as her) -- is to restock the bird feeder. We both enjoy seeing the birds flying in to chow down on the sunflower seeds and the suet, though Jeannine has the better view (I sit with my back to the window through which the feeder is visible, though I often see the birds reflected in the screen of my laptop computer).

A few days ago, when I went out to pour the seeds into the feeder, there were quite a few hungry birds already clustered around it, hopping about in the branches of the tree next to it. They seemed pretty bold -- none of them actually flew away when I got there, though they moved off a few feet. And it gave me an idea -- I wanted to see if one of these wild birds would eat out of my hand.

So I grabbed a small handful of seeds, and held my hand out, palm up, with seeds spread in it, trying to keep as still as I could. I heard the busy flutter of little wings near my head as some of the birds flew around me, perhaps trying to figure out what to do with this odd new feeder.

After only a couple of minutes of this, one of them -- a chickadee -- actually settled on my fingertips, paused, then snatched a seed in its beak and flew off. As you might imagine, at that moment I had a big grin on my face.

I went in to ask Jeannine if she had seen it, but unfortunately she had not been looking out at that moment. I tried it again the following day, but had no luck.

Today, I decided that I would give it another shot, and this time -- just in case it happened again -- I set up a camera at the window, and set it to take a movie as I went outside to try to coax a bird into eating from my hand.

And -- after a few minutes -- a chickadee flew down and perched on my fingertips. It paused, pecked once at my hand as if to make sure this new bird feeder was stable, then grabbed a sunflower seed, paused again, and flew off. And, as before, I had a big grin on my face (which you can't see see in these photographs -- actually frame grabs from the movie -- because I was trying to keep myself immobile while the bird was landing and eating, and that included my face -- the grin came right after the bird flew off).

And this time, I had photographic evidence of the encounter to show Jeannine. -- PL


FF said...

Neat, pigeons do it here at the park (Stone Mountain Park) but never the wilder birds. More props to you.

mikeandraph87 said...

Ah, the bird feeder. My grandparents have one. Its amazing how something like this is so entertaining and it sure is. Sometime those birds get into what looks likea shoving match,but as bold as the birds get due to the attract of food never would they land on someone's hand. Pretty col,Mr.Laird!

Mark H said...

Photographic evidence! My father told me stories of my Great Grandmother showing him how to get the chickadees
to land on your hand using seed. He said when he was a boy he used to go into her back garden where the feeders where and hold out a handful of seed and, the chickadees would just land on his hand.
My wife and I have feeders out front. Every winter we get out little army of chickadees flying about out there. I have tried many times to get them to land on my hand to no avail. I was beginning to think my Fathers stories of the chickadees was a tall tale. I see now, from your photos, that it is something the chickadees will do. Perhaps I'm not being patient enough when I try. Is there a secret to this? I just think it would be so neat if I could get them to land in my hand.
These are great photos. I appreciate you putting them up for us to see.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty cool! My family loves birds.