Coaxing a songbird to eat from your hand is a rare magical experience with wildlife. But you don't necessarily have to be an animal charmer to pull this off.
If your backyard feeding station is seeing lots of traffic, and you have some time and aptitude for stillness, follow this four-step process. With time and patience, you may eventually get something like a black-capped chickadee, blue jay or even a sparrow grabbing seeds or nuts from the palm of your hand.
- Remove all the feeders, and plant yourself at the feeding area. You may sit in a chair, if you like, and leave just one feeder hanging. If you do, just make sure you’re not directly facing the feeder because that could make birds nervous.
- Place the food in the palm of one hand. It can be black oil sunflower seeds, or a crowd favorite, like peanuts. (Note: Opt for Lyric Peanut Pieces, and you'll be serving something fresh without add-ins like salts and sweeteners.) If you're stationed next to a feeder, keep your hand by it.
- Embrace your inner zen. Getting birds to eat from your hand means you’ll have to emulate your favorite garden statuary. Hold perfectly still, keep your eyes downcast and mostly closed, just like any saintly statue.
- Be patient. Be willing to stay put for the next hour or so. The hope is they’ll eventually decide you’re not going to harm them, and they’ll start hopping down to take seeds from the feeder, and eventually, your hand! You may have to repeat this for a few days.
If and when a bird makes a landing, it will be worth the wait!