Hand feeding birds is an experience unlike any other for active and avid birders. But hand feeding a hummingbird… that just might be an experience worth working for!
If you regularly feed hummingbirds in your backyard, or even make your own nectar, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that these small birds are wary of humans and will only feed when they are entirely comfortable with their surroundings.
Keeping that in mind, here are a few tips you can use to bring yourself that much closer to a face-to-face encounter with one of these beautiful little birds.
Attract the Hummingbirds
First off, you will need to make sure you have hummingbirds in your area and that they are already comfortable with the feeder and nectar you are providing. Having an inviting backyard with the right feed and feeder will encourage regular hummingbird visitors that are relatively relaxed in their environment.
Put in the Work
This is the hard part, but as with anything else, you will get what you put in. Make sure you regularly monitor your hummingbirds as much as possible. You will want to know when they usually visit your feeders and how long it takes them to feed. Over time you will want to increase your presence slowly inching closer to the feeding area, whether from indoors through a window, or by being seated near the feeder.
This will take time and consistency. Experts recommend wearing similar clothing, and using the same actions over and over again. If you sit in a chair the first time, ensure you are always sitting in a chair while the birds are feeding. Over time you will want to slowly close the gap on the feeder, moving your position closer and closer to the birds themselves while they are feeding. As they become more accustomed to your presence they will begin to ignore you and carry on.
Take the Plunge
It might not work the very first time, but as we stated earlier, stay vigilant. You will want to either hold a small feeder, saucer, or a vile filled with nectar and keep a steady hand. There are even specially designed hand-held feeders you can use!
Many folks will extend a finger to provide a perch and on rare occasions, hummingbirds will take up a perch on a human. Wearing red is also suggested and some will even paint their fingernails red to further entice these birds to feed on their hands.
In the end, you may not be able to effectively have a hummingbird eating out of your hand, so to speak. But either way, these exercises will likely bring you closer than you may have ever been to these tiny and delicate birds, providing an unforgettable experience none the less.