Feeding the Chickadees, Sarsaparilla Trail, Nepean, Ontario
Only -18C. Actually quite balmy :-).
One of the things that I enjoy about walking Ottawa’s Greenbelt trails is putting a few sunflower seeds in my bare hand and feeding the chickadees.
Even more enjoyable is introducing someone else to this form of entertainment. I always carry a small bag of black of sunflower seeds with me when I go out for a walk in the woods. So, whenever someone comes along, who has never tried feeding the chickadees from hand, I ask them to stick out their hand, I supply the seeds, the chickadees do their part and presto, another chickadee-feeding convert results.
The first reaction, of anyone who has never tried to feed the chickadees or has never seen the local chickadees swoop in to the outstretched hand to grab a morsel of nutrition, is one of doubt and disbelief.
More than once, I have offered seed to a stranger and had them say something like, “Yeah, right!” The same individuals, if they succumb to the interest, are always surprised and jump back a bit when that first bird comes to their outstretched hand. After the first one, anticipation and excitement mounts just waiting for the second landing, and the third and the fourth until surprisingly the mound of seed has disappeared.
Especially exciting is the moment when your hand becomes the landing spot for not one, but two or more of the same or different species of birds.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds:
On this particular day, the added treat was the arrival of not only chickadees but also this White-Breasted Nuthatch that came in to look over the offerings. Normally I only carry black oil sunflower seeds since, these, and peanuts, appear to be the food of choice. This day, however, I had a mixture of seeds along but true to form, the landing birds selectively carried off the black oil sunflower seeds and left the others behind.
The lens that I brought along for this outing was a Nikon Series E 75-150mm push-pull type MF oldie.