For Prairiemoon and other bird lovers
I posted some pictures in another thread, but ran afoul of the thread's rules, so figured I'd start a new thread. Prairiemoon had mentioned that it must have taken a long time to hand tame the birds I posted pictures of, but it only takes minutes if you do it right and sort of put the bird's nature to work for you. I'll post some things I've learned about hand-taming birds that will allow you to train them to the hand in only a few minutes.
Two things first: 1) You can hand tame birds in the summer, but it's faster and easier in winter when insects are scarce and the birds need to keep their furnaces fed - when there is some snow cover. 2) The farther you are from a bird feeder the birds can easily flit to, the easier it will be.
The easiest way is to drill a hole in a can, fill it with sunflowers, and hang it on a nail or screw you drive into a tree (remove the fastener it when you're done) far from any bird feeders.
Leave it and return the next day. The birds will have found it and will be feeding or keeping an eye on the spot - even if the can is empty. When you return the next day, wear a hat that can hold SF seeds on the top or brim. Put a few seeds on the hat and lean against the tree so the seeds are as close to where the can was as possible. Lean against the tree & become a part of it. Don't move fast, and don't look directly at the birds. Avert your eyes by looking down or away & watching them with your peripheral vision at first. Later, you'll be able to walk around and talk normally & the birds will still come for their handouts.
The chickadees will be first. They're quite polite, so only 1 bird at a time will land on your hat. After at least several birds have become used to landing on your hat, there will be birds waiting in line. Then it's time to hold out your hand with seeds in it. Soon, you'll have birds all over waiting for their turn.
If you want to do it at home, the neighbors feeders will be a distraction unless they're at least 100-200 yds away, but it's still easily done. If you want to hand tame birds at home, limit yourself to 1 feeder for several days before you intend to tame them. When you're ready, take the feeder down and cover it with a cloth or put it in the garage. Lean against the tree the feeder was nearest with the seeds on your hat. If you're still, and follow the guidelines above, the chickadees will soon accept you as their newest benefactor and you'll be on your way.
Tits are more cautious and will become emboldened by the activity of the chickadees landing on you. Nuthatches are between chickadees & tits in how easy they are to tame. Chickadees and tits will eventually follow you everywhere, looking for their treats. Nuthatches are more selective in their approach. They won't fly directly to you and land directly on you. You must be within 'hopping' distance of a tree. The nuthatches will land well above you and hop down the tree (sometimes below and hop upward), and from the tree they'll hop onto you, so for nuthatches to land on you, you should lean on a tree or stand very close to a tree. They'll take to hopping on your hat the fastest.
Hold your hand under your chin & the birds will take seeds from between your lips. Pinch a seed so tightly the bird can't dislodge it from between your thumb/forefinger and you can watch it peel the husk and extract the kernel in very intimate detail. Photo ops are practically unlimited. I hope you try it - it's soo rewarding.