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Preparing for a Chickadee to Land on a Hand!

Hand-feeding Backyard Birds --

Agnolia often said the only place the twins could sit still for more than an hour was at their Grandmother Rachael's kitchen table. Rachael had several birdfeeders outside her kitchen window and had told the twins if they moved they would scare away the birds. Lucy, who seemed to have inherited her grandmother's love of birds, had been known to sit staring out the kitchen window for hours.

Friday, before picking up the twins at school, Agnolia stopped at the bookstore. Next to the field guides, she saw a bright blue book, Hand-feeding Backyard Birds: A Step-by-Step Guide. While thumbing through the pages, Agnolia saw pictures of birds being hand-fed by young children as well as adults, and she decided to buy Hand-feeding Backyard Birds.

On the way home, Agnolia and the twins stopped to see Rachael. Rachael was thrilled with the book. While the twins gathered around to look at the pictures, Rachael read that the author had hand-fed Black-Capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, White-Breasted Nuthatches, and Downy Woodpeckers.

When Lucy asked, "What do you feed a bird in your hand?" Rachael turned to page 22 and, after looking at the table called "Favorite Foods," told the twins the author found the birds' favorites were walnuts, pecans and cashews that had been "broken into bits about the size of a pea ."

Jacob, who had been looking at the pictures of titmice, nuthatches and chickadees being hand fed, was anxious to get to the how to part and asked, "How do you get them to come to your hand?" Rachael turned to the chapter called "How to Hand-Feed Birds" and read If you do not have a feeder in the yard, your first step will be to set one up in the fall or early winter... Beginning in early November on Saturday and Sunday mornings, I went out and stood near a maple tree that was about fifteen feet from the feeder. . . On the fourth Saturday, I moved five paces toward the feeder and turned into a statue. . . On each succeeding Saturday morning, I closed the gap (to the feeder) by a foot or two. . On the eighth weekend . . . I set up a . . . stepladder so I could place my hand in the feeder. ..

Rachael looked up from the book and said to the twins, "Do you think you could stand like a statue for a long time?" Lucy and Jack, in unison, said, "Yes! if the birds would come."

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