There is nothing more delightful than having a wild bird land on your hand. It’s unbelievable how light a chickadee is—they feel like a puff of air. And just being so close to a wild bird and having it trust you that much is wonderful!
If you’ve never had the opportunity to hand-feed your wild birds, maybe now is the time to try. There are a number of ways you can get the birds used to you. The real trick is having a lot of patience and being able to stay perfectly still.
One method is to make a dummy of sorts that resembles a human—preferably you! Put a jacket and hat on it that you will wear later, and sit it in a lawn chair near your feeders. It doesn’t have to be a work of art. Even just a wire frame to support the clothes will work. Stuff a glove with something and attach it (palm up) to the chair’s arm and then fill the palm with seeds. After a while the birds will begin to use the glove as a feeder. When that happens, simply substitute yourself in the jacket, hat and glove and soon you’ll have the birds landing on the glove just as they did with the dummy. After a while you can take the glove off so you can actually feel the birds’ tiny feet when they land.
Another way to hand-feed birds, which worked for me, is to try it when it’s snowing. Birds seem to go into a feeding frenzy when it’s snowing. While they’re flocking to your feeders, simply stand near them with your hand held out and full of seeds. Stay extremely still! It does take patience, but eventually you may get a bird to briefly land. The more often you stand by your feeders in this way, the more the birds will get used to you.
Other people have had great success hand feeding the birds by using a window feeder as a helper. With the window feeder full of seeds, simply put your hand out the window next to the feeder. The birds will hardly distinguish between your hand and the feeder. Plus you have the advantage of being in a more comfortable environment and behind the window where the birds are less likely to be frightened by your presence.
Whatever method you use, if you have the time and patience, the experience of having a wild bird land on your hand to eat or take a seed is something you will never forget. Happy Birding!