Hand feeding chickadees at Mill Creek Park

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Anne Clark stood at the bird feeding area outside the Ford Nature Center Jan. 19 for the park's hand feed a chickadee event.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Anne and Ivan Clark stood outside the Mill Creek Metro Parks Ford Nature Center Jan. 19 holding black sun flower seeds to hand feed chickadees.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy.com

Naturalist Marilyn Williams hosted the hand-feed a chickadee event at Mill Creek Park’s Ford Nature Center on Jan. 19.

“Chickadees are curious birds, in the winter time they need a lot of calories to keep warm,” Williams said.

She said that the park has been hosting this event on the first Saturday of January for years, but because of popularity it was moved to every Saturday in January.

Williams said that chickadees are naturally curious and friendly birds who don’t migrate in the winter.

Because they stick around all year the birds have multiple food patches where they can go so they don’t become dependent on one location.

“They are well adapted to finding food on their own,” Williams said. “Especially when it is really cold and snowy they need those calories and they need them fast to help them keep warm.”

Williams said the best time to feed the birds is when it is really cold and snowy because that’s when the birds need the food the most.

“If you make a routine of it every morning and come outside at the same time while they are waiting for food, they may land on your hard but even if they don’t they get close to you it’s just so nice to see them up close,” Williams said.

During the event Williams gives a brief explanation to community members about the birds, and then gives them handfuls of black sunflower seeds to hand feed the chickadees.

“The black sunflower seeds are really good for that high calorie food and they’re good in fat,” Williams said.

It is against the rules in Mill Creek Park to feed the animals, Williams said, with the only exceptions being this program and the bird feeding areas.

“We feed them food they would naturally eat,” Williams said. “We never try to hand feed animals.”

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