WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio -- Our series looking at gems around the suburbs of Cleveland takes us to the east side where there’s a place with some pretty friendly birds.
You'll find this spot in the North Chagrin Reservation at an old overlook shelter where birds will literally eat out of the palm of your hand.
For nearly a century, little chickadees have been dining in style there, about a mile up a dirt path immersed in trees, hills and valleys.
While general wisdom says birds fly south for the winter, these pocket-sized songbirds have discovered the “order-in” feature when it comes to finding food. While other birds travel to warmer climates to beat the cold and hunger, the wee chickadees of Willoughby Hills are now so accustomed to visitors offering up palms full of seed, there’s no need to leave home.
"For probably close to 90 years, people have been feeding birds out here," says Selby Majewski, a naturalist with Cleveland Metroparks. "They pass it down through their institutional knowledge. Their families have passed down, ‘Hey, this is a great way to get free food.’ So, sometimes if it’s cold and they really need some food, they will just come at you if you have your hand out. Even if you don’t have any food, they just kind of know what to expect at this point.”
The overlook is located in the AB Williams Woods. For more information on how to find it, stop by the Nature Center.