Quick Hand Feeding Test
This is something you can do early in the morning one weekend to see if you can hand feed birds in your backyard. You need to have either chickadees or titmice for the best chance of success. Some people also have success with downy woodpeckers. Here’s the basic plot.
Take Down Your Feeders
For this to work, you have to make sure you are the only place for them to get food in your backyard. If even one feeder is left up, this will fail. Make sure they can’t get to any of the feeders you’ve taken down or they’ll do that too. Especially the titmice.
Get A Handful Of New Food
Try to use a food you don’t usually put out for them. Hulled peanuts are really great for titmice. Chickadees should go for safflower or hulled sunflower. I also recommend a nut and fruit mix because it has something for either of these birds. The main thing here is that it’s not something you feed all the time but something they really like. Most of the birding guides can give you a list of what these guys really like but I’m giving you my experience.
Stand Still Near A Feeder Station
The best chance is if you feed them near where they’re used to finding food. If it’s early morning when they usually feed heavily you should hear them in the trees the second you take down their feeders. Stand still with your hand extended full of treats for them. It might take 10 minutes or more before they start landing on your feeder pole and sqwawking at you. Stand still and don’t make eye contact with them. If after 10 minutes if you have no activity at all, maybe today isn’t the day. Put the feeders back up and go about the rest of your day.
If you do get any activity stick it out a little longer. Maybe all you need to do is back away from the feeder pole so they have some place to land before they come over to you. A perch is very comforting to them. Move away and stand still again.
Don’t get discouraged if they don’t come the first time. By all means, grab a chair if you don’t want to stand. The first method I learned involved moving progressively closer to the feeder station before taking them down. This shouldn’t take long to do and if you’re outside with your birds how can you go wrong?
Let me know if you have success with this method by leaving a comment below. Here’s my titmouse hand feeding video for you to enjoy.