by Sasha Many, many (many many many) years ago, I read an article in Owl magazine about a girl who had trained the chickadees in her backyard to eat from her hand. This took some patience and perseverence - going out every day with a handful of seed, working her way ever closer to the feeder, and finally taking the feeder away. I finally tried this a couple of years ago - and after a week or so I did manage to get a few brave little birds to land on my outstretched hand. It was pretty neat.
I now have a 2-year-old. "Patience" and "perseverence" aren't really in the lexicon yet. But 'bird' certainly is. And so, when I heard rumours of some really friendly chickadees at P11 in the greenbelt, I decided to check it out.
The plan was to take the girls out on Christmas Day, so just to avoid any disappointment, I swung by on Christmas Eve. And sure enough, those birds know where seed comes from. I had none with me, and yet all I had to do was step out of the parking lot and stand there, and within a minute or two the nearby bushes were a-twitter with chubby little birds, all eyeing me hopefully.
Christmas Day was a success. We went out with a big back of black sunflower seeds, which Miss Bea cheerfully scooped from the bag into piles on the ground. She liked the birds, and tried to hold some seed out for them, but then squealed and jumped away whenever one came near (and as a testament to how brave these birds are, that didn't stop them trying). Before long they were actually tusselling for the seed on my hand (video).
If you would like to check it out, P11 is located off Hunt Club road between the 416 and Moodie. There are pathways & ski trails, but you can find the chickadees just by stepping out of the parking lot. Note though, as we learned on a later visit, the chickadees have the sense to stay inside on the blustery days, leaving us wishing we did too.
Sasha is mom to 2-year-old Miss Bea, and 4 month old Baby Em. Her ramblings can also be found on her blog, The Rambling Stroller.