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Handfeeding Chickadees and Nuthatches

Handfeeding Chickadees and Nuthatches

Handfeeding Chickadees and Nuthatches

The calendar states it is spring in Wisconsin, so darn it, warm up already.  Instead, we have 34-degree weather, with tiny, snowflakes drifting down from the sky every once in awhile.  My teens are off for spring break and our family had decided between work schedules and additional commitments, we were staying home for spring break.  This is not our family, is it?

 

Last Winter 8 Hours of Driving For Nothing

Today, I decided to revisit something with my daughter.  Last year, we drove 4 hours to LaCrosse, Wisconsin to try and feed birds out of our hands. We had the address of this “secret” place.  We had birds all around us, but couldn’t get them to eat from our hands.  My daughter was heartbroken on the 4-hour drive home.

 

 

Ok, a selfie was in order. Even the chickadee agreed. We needed to all get into the picture.

Selfie was in order. Even the chickadee agreed. We needed to all get into the picture.

Re-Thinking the Game Plan

Early this morning, I told my daughter,  I know what birds like to eat. I know where they hang out.  Heck, when you watch their patterns for the number of years that I have, they are pretty predictable.  The weather changed back to being cold.  It appears that our snowflakes could turn to rain. Maybe, another snowstorm for all I know.  Let’s head to the store and get some seed to try our hand at luring in the birds today.




Chickadee eating black oil sunflower seeds right out of my daughter's hand.

 

What Kind of Birds Do You Want to Attract?

You need to know what kinds of birds you want to attract in order to know what to feed them for the best results. I know chickadees are easier than most birds to lure into the hand.  They are quick and friendly.  


That was my reasoning for purchasing an oil sunflower seed blend that had berries and peanuts in the mix.  Chickadees enjoy peanuts, black oil sunflower seed, mixed nuts and will occasionally take berries.

 

The chickadees got braver and stayed perch longer as the day went on.

Click on any photo to own a copy. You can also see additional photography prints.

Locations To Try

1.) Your own backyard – Birds know you.  They know your backyard. 

2.) Walking paths – The trees along favorite city walking paths work well.

3.) Parks – birds are used to seeing people often.  They already have a visual relationship with humans.

 

Look for a large population of birds in the trees and surrounding area.  It helps to have a large population, once the first bird starts more follow suit.

Amazing how close one could get while the chickadees ate out of my daughter's hand.

Most of Our Photos Were Captured with a GoPro

Look For The Following Trees

1.) Spruce
2.) Fir
3.) Pine
4.) Hemlock
5.) Larch
6.) Western Cedar
7.) Forests of oak, hickory, maple and birch.

 

Yep, we used the GoPro to film, too.

Be still at first, holding the seed outward, in cupped hands.  The action can start slow.  With only one bird brave enough to feed on your hands.  The thrill of one bird visiting you is terrific.  We spent a great deal of time with our first chickadee.  He was a brave and friendly fella. That happened to start a feeding frenzy for us.

Dine and dash. Dine and dash. 45 minutes straight.




Additional chickadees filtered in.  They used a quick dine and dash approach at first. Grab the seed and push off your hand quickly.

The most feeding at one time was 5.

The most birds we had at one time was five in hand.   They would land on our arms and the top of our heads as well.  It was pretty funny.  We noticed a few nuthatches hanging around in the beginning.  They would watch, but never stop to dine.

Again, those darn Rose-breasted Nuthatches were so quick.

Then, sure enough, the first nuthatch was a rose-breasted nuthatch.  It approached like it was coming in for a crash landing. I pretty much missed it but thought if this was the only frame I got, I’d be happy. Proof it happened.

Since I do not get a lot of chances to get a rose-breasted nuthatch on camera this was a fun day.

Towards the end of our time spent in the woods, the rose-breasted nuthatches became a little calmer. The white-breasted nuthatches wouldn’t come in.  They hung around for the entire show.

Finally, comfortable. We see a cardinal hanging around in the trees. He is getting closer and closer. But, he can't seem to take the last step.


Finally, the rose-breasted nuthatches are comfortable. Then we see a cardinal hanging around in the trees. He is getting closer and closer. But, he couldn’t seem to take the last leap of fate.  He was rather chatty up in the tree top.

 

Magical time.

 

We hung out for a full 45 minutes feeding the birds.  Until our hands were cold and arms were too stiff to hold them out any longer.

 

We pack everything up and Mr. Cardinal follows us back to the car. Making a whole lot of noise. Almost as if he was telling us to wait, he was almost ready.


Mr cardinal decided he was a little upset we were leaving. As we packed up the car, he was standing on the hood of the car. Making a whole lot of noise. Almost as if he was telling us to wait, he was almost ready.

 

He hung around and looked into the car. Watched us put away all of the stuff. I left him a treat on the ground. Maybe we can try this again in a few days.


He hung around and looked into the car. Watched us as we put away all of the stuff.

 

Oh, wait. We have another friend.

We decided to give it one more shot for Mr. Cardinal. Once again, all talk from him and no action.  Instead, one last red-breasted nuthatch landed. Sorry, Mr. Cardinal. Better luck next time.

 

I left Mr. Cardinal a treat on the ground. Maybe, we can try this again in a few days. As the weather warms up though, I believe our luck will get slimmer.

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