Are You a Chickadee Magnet? We Hope So!

Try your hand at new hand-feeding project at The West Woods

Winter is a great time of year to observe birds, and what better place to observe them than the comfortable, serene setting of wildlife feeding station at The West Woods Nature Center in Russell Township.

But what if we told you that YOU could be the bird feeder? The saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Geauga Park District’s new Bird in the Hand Project allows you to feed the wild birds by hand!

Come by any time during daylight hours, 9465 Kinsman Road (Route 87), and follow the Trout Lily Trail, then hang a right at the fork after the boardwalk across the wetlands. Soon you’ll come upon the feeding station, marked by a feeder and a human-like figure that keeps the birds familiar with a human presence. (They’re fairly easy to fool.)

Just take down the feeder, hide it between your feet or under a coat, extend your hand with some seed in your palm, then wait. Odds are good you’ll have a taker if you’re patient, enjoying the peace and quiet a handful of minutes or so, maybe less.

Chief Naturalist John Kolar shows how it’s done in his latest video.


“Be very quiet; if you’re shuffling around, it’s probably not going to work,” he said. “And don’t bring 10 people with you. We’re talking a smaller group – one, two, three, maybe four people.” 

Why was the Bird in the Hand Project established anyway? Well…’cause it’s cool!

The West Woods’ Black-capped Chickadees are already very warmed up to the idea thanks to a crew of dedicated volunteers, led by Naturalist Dottie Drockton, who began patiently waiting near a bird feeder, arms extended, still and silent, the last week of November.

“Other local parks have been doing this for years, but for some reason Geauga Park District hasn’t,” said John, crediting Cleveland Metroparks for the good example to the west.

When you arrive, just remember to grab some seed for your bird-feeding adventure from The West Woods Nature Center, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or use a little from the existing feeder after hours.

“It’s important that you don’t bring your own seed from home or bread or anything like that,” John added, “because this is the kind of seed that’s best for the birds. It gives them most of what they need.”

Want to be the face of the station’s human-like figure? Send a high-res photo of just your face to As you can tell from the video, we’re real “beliebers” in the project…

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Geauga News
Author: Geauga News