Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I mentioned back in December that we went to the Ipswich River Sanctuary to feed the birds.  I finally culled through the photos and videos to share some of my favorites.

I love, love, LOVE, feeding the birds at Ipswich.  The flutter of feathers.  The chirps and calls.  The brandishing and displays.  The little bitty pricking when their feet hold on to my fingers.  The flurry of activity.  Happy birds.  Happy me!

Chickadee in motion and a nuthatch picking the best seed

The camera was on auto focus and it had a hard time finding what to focus on.  The chickadees were here and there so fast, by the time the camera picked an area to focus on, the bird was gone.  Aren't the blurred wings neat?  Rob caught that chickadee just after he landed and as he flew off.

A few birds began to follow me even before I pulled out the food.  This picture is from my first handful of seed.  There's one chickadee in my hand (you might be able to see).  The yellow circles are the other chickadees and a titmouse that swarmed to check me out.  Word spread fast - there must have been a dozen or two that follow me around, mostly chickadees.  There were only a couple of nuthatches and a few more titmice.  There was a cardinal that followed, but didn't come too close, and a finch or sparrow.  There was also one red squirrel - Rob managed to catch him in the video.

It was really cold that day.  I removed my mitten to feed them.  My fingers would go numb after two or three minutes, so I'd drop what was left of the seed, put on my mitten, walk a little ways (to get the blood circulating), then pull off the mitten from my other hand and repeat.  Hopeful birds would shadow me down the path.

Look at how fast they come!  They were all queuing up in the branches in front of me, just out of the camera shot.  Some waited directly above my hand and dropped straight down, then braked to land so lightly.  It's amazing to watch.

Even on the video some of them materialize and vanish in thin air.  I was amused that a few were so intent in keeping others away, they'd end up flying off without having taken a seed.  Some were greedy and tried stuffing two seeds in their beak before taking off.  The squirrel who had so desperately wanted some seed bolted when I let a few fall to the ground.  I don't know if he got any.  The camera picked up some of the bird calls and even a bit of the fluttering.  The birds groused at each other in the trees, too.

I often think of chickadees, titmice and nuthatches being roughly the same size.  But I could feel the difference in their weight as they landed.  Chickadees are definitely the lightest of the three.  Nuthatches landed with more of a thud (if that's the right word to use with a bird so small) and I could feel more of a grip as they perched on my hand.

Oh, what fun.  I can't wait to do this again.


  1. What an amazing thing to get to do. I wonder if there are other sanctuaries that have this. I would love the experience. I tried one whole summer to get a hummingbird to eat from my handheld feeder but was not successful but was still fun. They did come close enough to touch if they had not been so skittish. Thanks for sharing.

  2. How amazing to have all those sweet birds fly onto your hand and feed from it. The sanctuary is an incredible place.

  3. This is absolutely amazing! I would love this. I love chickadees, but we don't have them here. But we have blue tits, great tits and others. I haven't seen a coal tit myself, but according to my bird book it looks a lot like the chickadee. and some of their calls are similar.


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