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Feeding birds out of your hand

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One of our favorite birding activities comes from Jim Carpenter’s book The Joy of Bird Feeding.

Can you believe that you feed birds out of your hands in a day? Pretty incredible but totally possible.

If you follow the steps you can too! For those of you who do not have this wonderful book I will list the steps below.

This works best if your feeders have lots of bird traffic.

Step 1 – Set up your decoy

Set up a decoy in a comfortable chair. Make sure it has a coat, hat and gloves and stage it in a way that looks natural. Put seeds in the decoy’s gloved hand. You will need to give the birds some time to accept the decoys presence. After a good amount of time (4 hours) it is time for step 2!

Step 2 – Time to remove some of your feeders

Its time to take away some of the feeders. You will need to leave one close to your decoy. Be sure that there are seeds in the feeder and in the decoys glove. The birds may have already started eating out of the decoy’s hand! You should let the birds have an hour to get accustomed to the change.

Step 3 – Time to feed from the glove

Now you can remove the food from the feeder, leaving it close to the gloved hand, and only offer seeds in the decoys hand. The only place your birds will find seed is in the decoy’s hand now. Wait an hour for the birds to adjust.

Step 4 – Become the Decoy!

Quickly change to the decoys spot and put on the decoy’s hat, coat, and glove. Make sure the glove is full of seeds and stay still and quiet. Before you know it, you will have the birds eating out of your hand! Once the birds are comfortable you can remove the glove to get the full effect of this wonderful experience.

It is a good idea to have a friend with a camera close by for this step so that you can capture the moment.

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