Indigo Bunting (see Alphabird at right) recently wrote about the experience of hand feeding wild birds. I started to comment on it, but my comment got so long that I figured I'd better put it here instead.
One winter in the early 1970s I read a book called Hand-Taming Wild Birds at the Feeder, by Alfred G. Martin. I was living alone in the country during the week, with lots of time on my hands to devote to this project. It seemed like an impossible undertaking. But the author said if you followed his instructions (which involved patience and cold hands) you would succeed. He was right. Of course, a chickadee was the first brave bird to eat out of my hand. It wasn't long before many others, including whole flocks of evening grosbeaks, followed suit.
I would go outside and call, "Come get your seed!" in a high voice, and they would land on my arms, my shoulders, my head. I think the biggest surprise (and thrill) was when a flock of migrating redpolls landed on me. They were just passing through, but apparently decided the resident birds knew what they were doing, and as a feeding station, I was okay.
I'm so sorry I can't do this at my present home. I didn't get started when we first moved here (I was busy being pregnant and raising toddlers), and now my Raynaud's is so bad that standing outside with a bare hand is out of the question. I'll never forget the feeling of little bird feet, though. Little bird feet and little bird trust.