Life in The Upper South... More About Birds and Animals...
The goldfinches are swarming the thistle seed feeders this morning. This photo was taken through the glass window of the kitchen door plus the glass window of the storm door. I'm surprised it came out as good as it did.
Dennis has his feeders hanging on the shepherd's hook in my little flower bed, and I'm afraid he (note the emphasis!) will have a big weeding problem there this summer. Maybe the thistle seed is sterilized? I really really hope so.
These little birds are still in their winter color which is more an olive green than yellow. Within the next month or so, the males will begin to show their bright yellow summer color so they can attract a mate.
My parents called them "wild canaries," and I was an adult before I finally realized that wild canaries and the goldfinches of my elementary school science book were the same birds.
Some years back, we drove over to Glasgow, KY, to pick up a purebred puppy we had bought from someone there. They had a pasture in front of their house that had the worst growth of thistles I have ever seen. They couldn't have had more thistles there if they had tried to grow a crop of them.
The air above those thousands of thistles was swarming with goldfinches. I don't think I'd be exaggerating to say there were hundreds of goldfinches zipping around the thistle heads in that pasture. It was an unbelievable, unforgettable sight.
Some states have a "noxious weed" law that requires landowners to spray thistles. In Kentucky, that isn't the case. Thistle control is voluntary. Thistles even grow in the highway right-of-ways without much spraying. The state will come out and spray the thistles in the right-of-way next to your property if you request it after having treated your own thistle problem.
I sure hope I don't have a thistle problem in my flower bed. I tried to move the shepherd hook several times this winter, but it wouldn't budge. I should have got a bar and pried it up, but it's too late now.