Getting hummingbirds to feed from your hand

Having a hummingbird feed from your hand is a wonderful feeling!

If you want to hand feed hummingbirds, the first thing you need to do is attract hummingbirds to your yard. It also helps if you spend some time out in your yard while the hummingbirds are feeder, just being still and quiet and letting them get used to you being in their presence while they feed. This is something you might have to do over a long period of time (days, weeks, or months), until they are comfortable with you.

Once you have hummingbirds visiting your yard on a regular basis to feed, and they seem to be comfortable with you around, then you need to get some hand feeders. I find it also helps if you wear colors that the birds are attracted to, with red being the main color, but orange or yellow can also work. I have an orange rain shell with a hood that I sometimes wear. My son has a red robe that worked really well (see his hand feeding video here).

Then find a comfortable place where you can sit or stand very still while holding one or more feeders, and just be patient. If you want to increase your chances of success, you can temporarily take down your main feeders, and sit or stand close to the most popular feeder area.

Sudden movements will scare them off, so being still and patient is key. If you're trying to get photos or videos, then it's best if you have someone else with a camera several feet away from you, as any movements you make to take a photo, or start video recording, can also scare them away. If I'm by myself and trying to get a video of them feeding from my hand (see one example here), I set up my camera on a tripod and aim it where my hand is going to be. I can use the Canon Connect app on my phone to remote control my camera, and even see a preview of what the camera sees on the phone screen. I have the app open and the phone in my other hand, resting on my lap with my thumb hovering over the button to start recording. Then I can start the video with a very small movement that won't scare away the hummingbird.

It's very rewarding when a hummingbird finally decides to perch on your fingers to feed! It's worth the wait!

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