How to Hand Feed a Chickadee

Do you live in Canada or the United States and want to try feeding Black Capped Chickadees? This article will guide you on how to feed these small perching birds.

Handfeeding Random Chicadees
Choose your location. A park, botanical garden, a forest trail, or even your own backyard will work, as long as the Chickadees live in your location.

Prepare the seeds you will feed them. Chickadees are usually content with any type of bird seed, but they love sunflower seeds!

Pack anything you may need (if you are going on a ‘field trip’). You may want to bring a camera, binoculars, the bird seed, some snacks and water for yourself, etc. In winter, you will need to bring a toque, winter jacket, mittens or gloves, and a scarf.

Travel to your feeding location.

Walk around and search for the Chickadees.

Take out your birdseed when you have chosen a good spot to feed them.

Place a small handful of seed in the palm of your outstretched hand.

Call out “Chick-a-dee dee dee” every so often. The Chickadees may not know that you have seeds at first. Some locations where these birds are fed often will know that you are providing them with food.

Stand very still as not to scare the birds.

Keep your hand sturdy and flat while the Chickadee is eating on your hand. The chickadee may decide to take larger seeds (such as sunflower seeds) and eat them on a tree branch. Don’t worry! They will come back after they are done with that seed. You may even have the opportunity to feed two or more Chickadees at once!

Place another handful of seeds in your hand when the Chickadees eat all of the original handful.

Pack everything back up when you are ready to go back home. Make sure you have left everything at the location just as you found it.

Transitioning from Feeder to Handfeeding[1]
Set up a feeder on your property (or somewhere you have permission to do so). Keep it filled with sunflower seeds. This will let birds know that there is always a regular supply of food at that location.

Stand a little closer to the feeder every day. At first, the birds will be skittish, but over time, they will get used to you. When they get comfortable, start to stand a little closer until you can stand right next to the feeder.

Replace the feeder with a bowl or coffee mug.

Once they are eating out of the bowl or mug with you standing next to them, start holding the bowl or mug.

Once they’re comfortable with that, start feeding them from your hand.

It is best to feed these small energetic birds in the fall or winter time when it will get harder for them to find food.

Other birds such as small woodpeckers may also come and feed on your hand.

Consider alternating hands if one starts tiring.

If you are feeding multiple woodpeckers at the same time, make sure you have enough food for both!

Always be careful to put the seed in the middle of your hand so that they don’t accidentally peck your fingers.

Things You’ll Need
Bird seed

Related wikiHows
How to Feed Wild Birds

How to Recognize the Chickadee

How to Have Wild Birds Eat Out of Your Hand

Sources and Citations

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