Monroe birder films chickadee eating from her hand

You don’t have to be a Disney princess to get a wild songbird to eat from your palm. It just takes a little patience, some quality birdseed and a relatively friendly bird — such as Maine’s state bird, the black-capped chickadee. Just ask Laura Zamfirescu, a 36-year-old birder from Monroe who captured the magical moment on her iPhone last week.

Zamfirescu posted the slow motion video on the popular Facebook page “Maine Birds,” where I stumbled upon it. Fascinated, I sent her a message asking if she’d allow me to post the video on my blog, along with her story. She was kind enough to agree.

Here’s how it happened:

“I’ve put a suet feeder in the woods trying to bring one of the resident pileated woodpeckers to the feeders,” Zamfirescu told me when I asked her about the video. “I went for a couple of days there to check what birds were eating the suet, and there were a couple of chickadees, too.”

So the next day, she brought some birdseed and put it on the ground. She figured that the seeds would be easier than suet (a cake of fat, seeds, nuts and fruits) for the chickadees to eat.

“Every day for a week maybe, I went and just laid on the ground for 30 minutes while the chickadees were eating,” Zamfirescu said. “Then two days ago, I decided to keep the seeds in my hand, and sure enough, one brave chickadee landed on my hand.”

Zamfirescu moved to Maine from Romania about six years ago, and she started birdwatching and photography about two years ago. She now has a Facebook page where she shares her Maine wildlife photography at

Recently, she purchased an iPhone and started playing with the slow motion setting of its camera, which she used for the chickadee video.

“I can’t wait for hummingbirds to come,” she said.

It won’t be long now.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at