Chickadee by Jeremy MartinToday was a chickadee-iferous day at Audubon.  (If my daughter can make up words, so can I!)

Jeff, one of the naturalists, is working on training them to eat out of his hands.  Chickadees are naturally friendly and not very afraid…  so it isn’t hard to train them.


If you feed birds in your backyard already, here’s the trick:  get them used to a regular feeding time.  Click on this picture to go to a larger version where you can clearly see the chickadee on Jeff's glove!Only put out enough food that they can finish it off before the end of the day.  Put out more the next morning, and the next.  Then, once they are used to coming, just go stand there with the seed in your hand.

I heard of one nature center that has an unscare-crow.  It’s dressed with a winter coat, hat, and mittens.  The Center has a duplicate set inside.  When folks want to experience the chickadees up close and personal, they can put on the duplicate set of snow clothes, fill their hands with seed and step outside.  The birds take to them just as easily as they do the unscare-crow!

9 thoughts on “Chickadee-dee-dee

  1. My favorite bird! I’ll have to try that. There are several dozen here that are accustomed to eating sunflower seeds and already come very close to me when I feed them in the morning.

  2. My favorite, too.
    I used to feed one every time we hiked in an area in WNY that had boardwalks,…obviously very well-traveled and user-friendly.
    I haven’t taken the time to acclimate my birds to my presence–maybe I will someday.
    So sweet to see them land on your hand!

    (maybe I can “tame” my little whitetail?)

  3. I’ve been trying this in our yard for years – and only once got one to do a ‘touch landing’ where it never really landed but touched the end of my fingers. But I’m still working on it.

    But at Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Vancouver, BC, I was fortunate enough to have the experience of chickadees landing in my hands – including two at once! It was a magical experience of having their little feet and claws alight on my fingers and grab a little food – an experience only beaten by the one of walking with the sandhill cranes an hour later!

    Good luck with your enterprise – looking forward to seeing any pictures you get.

  4. I love the idea of an un-scarecrow 🙂 Must be nice to get to see the little buggers up close – I mostly get fleeting glimpses of the Chestnut-backed Chickadees that frequent SF. Wish we could have a feeder on our deck, but our cats hang out on it, so that’s a no-go!

  5. I have stood outdoors like a statue until I froze and couldn’t entice a chickadee to land on my hand. I will have to try some of your ideas. Actually, I think the nuthatches are as tame as the chickadees.

  6. Mealworms! That’s what I use to get chickadees to eat out of my hand. And fortunately, they’re used to the window feeder where mealworms are usually available, so I just have to put my arm out the window instead of my whole body standing outside on a cold winter day.

  7. I have the perfect spot in my backyard with a feeder :). I also have a pond(back) and a fountain in my front where they drink in the morning. My daughter gets frustrated when she cant touch a bird so i decided to start training. One was checking me out today, and was pretty close maybe one meter away? I will try the unscarecrow idea. I also tried saying chickadee-dee-dee in a non aggresive way, that seems to help.

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