Photo of a chickadee sitting in a hand holding seeds

Winter in Cleveland: Hand-feed Chickadees

Darker days and chilly temperatures have you feeling gloomy? Layer up and beat the winter blues by immersing yourself in all that Cleveland has to offer—from ice skating to snow tubing and more, there’s plenty to keep you busy when it’s cold outside. Today, we’re sharing one last winter activity to consider trying over the break.

Photo of a chickadee sitting in a hand holding seeds

Last week in this series, we featured tobogganing—an activity involving zooming down an icy 700-foot chute at 40 miles per hour. If you’re interested in a more serene winter activity—or if you’re looking to get up close and personal with wildlife—this week’s family-friendly spotlight might be better suited for you. 

Throughout the winter, you can hand-feed friendly and curious chickadees at Brecksville Reservation—for free! These tiny birds, who spend their winters in northeast Ohio, are waiting for you near the Brecksville Nature Center. 

All you need to do is pick a day when it’s a bit cold and snowy; chickadees prefer these conditions so you’re more likely to see them. When you arrive, stop inside the Nature Center, where you’ll be given instructions and a handful of black oil sunflower seeds. 

Once you’re there, don’t be alarmed if the birds take more than their share of seeds while nibbling from your palms. Chickadees are known to hide food to eat later, meticulously placing each seed in a different spot and somehow remembering thousands of hiding places months later. 

After feeding the chickadees, you can continue your day in the great outdoors by further venturing into the woods. The Nature Center is surrounded by several trails that make up the Brecksville Reservation, including a 0.75-mile trek on the Wildflower Loop, and a 16-mile hike on the Buckeye Trail.

Ready to get in tune with nature? Stop by the Nature Center to feed the chickadees between 10 a.m. and noon Monday through Sunday—it’s less than 30 minutes from Case Western Reserve University. The attraction will be closed Dec. 24-25. Before you go, take a look at the event calendar to confirm the attraction is operating—and make sure to read some interesting facts about the unique birds.