Chickadee Cheer – A Mendon Ponds Park

Nathan Bird is enjoying his close-up experience with nature by feeding this chickadee. Photo by Jim Bird

Outdoor family adventures are plentiful during the winter months for those who seek them. One unique birding experience exists just north of Honeoye Falls, at Monroe County’s Mendon Ponds Park.

Mendon Ponds Park’s unique complex of glacial features helped to make it a National Natural Historic Landmark in 1969. There is a 550 acre nature preserve, and 30 miles of self guided trails full of wildlife. The native preserve is home to a population of chickadees that you can hand-feed.

The Quaker Pond trail is probably the place to go to find the most chickadees and other birds that will eat right out of your hand. Black-oil sunflower seeds are what the birds like best, and a little patience can reward the human feeder with a bird in the hand, or at least nearby. Chickadees like the sunflower seeds the best. They will take the seed and fly back to the bushes to open it as soon as they have it. The chickadees will stay on a person’s hand longer if they’re fed a mix of millet, corn and other indgredients.

Winter Park Hours – November 1 to March 31

• Monday through Thursday park services are available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lodges are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Friday through Sunday the park is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Lodges are available from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Cobblestone until 11 p.m.)