Getting Wild Birds to Eat out of your Hands

Hand tamed Wood Nuthatch

Some of the more inquisitive, less timid, bird species are easiest to train, including the following:


Handtaming Wild Birds:

  • Establish a Routine:
    • Begin by filling your feeders at the same time every day, preferably in the early morning, when birds actively seek food.

    • Include a few chopped walnuts or pecans, which many birds relish, where the birds can get at them immediately.

    • Certain birds will catch on and show up soon after you visit the feeder.

    • Spend some time near the feeder, watching them calmly, maybe at times talking gently - to get the birds used to you.

  • The Training:
    • One day, don't fill the feeder but stand or sit at the expected time near the feeder. Place feed in a cup formed by your palm upturned and fingers pointing up for a perch.  Birds see well from a distance and will easily notice that you are holding feed. Don't get discouraged if they don't come that day.

    • It's fine to talk gently, but avoid sudden movements. Be patient. One of the braver birds will eventually take a piece from your hand. It may even hop onto your fingers and will, hopefully, be rewarded with a nice treat. Soon others also will come.

    • Refill the feeder when you are done.

By Sibylle Johnson

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