Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today's Flowers: Thistle

To birder thistle refers to a type of seed that many people use in their long cylinder feeders to attract finches such as goldfinch, purple finch, and pine siskins. To gardeners thistle usually means an invasive weed that needs to be controlled. For me thistle is an opportunity.
With many different types of thistle there is plenty of opportunity to photograph colorful wild flowers, like this one which I believe may be Canada thistle.
The bright flowers are a draw for many different types of insects, like this tiger swallowtail on a bull thistle flower.
And if I really have to take pictures of birds at feeders well then this is the type of feeder that I prefer to look for. During the summer and fall wherever you find thistle chances are that there will be some goldfinch around. It is really fun to watch them pick apart the thistle looking for the seeds inside.

10 comments:

Darla said...

Great info on why we might want to give the natural "weeds" a chance in the garden. Lovely photos.

Leora said...

Thistle is a beautiful, sculptural flower that makes a great photo!

dAwN said...

Great thistle and birdie photos...I love to watch the goldfinches pull the seeds out as well!

madcobug said...

I think thistle flowers are beautiful. You did great with the photos. Helen

Arija said...

three very beautiful photos. Love your Goldfinch!

Kallen305 said...

It may be invasive, but it is a truely beautiful flower that the birds love.

Gorgeous photos.

Shellmo said...

I love thistle - I've made many a wildflower bouquet with them. But now I may leave them be for my little birdy friends. Thank you for the information! And you're right - it does make a more attractive "bird feeder" photo. *cough, cough - guilty of bird feeder photos*

Nancy and the fatties said...

I saw your image on Sharon's New England Life blog and had to come right over and admire your thistle, my favorite flower. To me, they cry out to be painted, all the pinks and lavenders. Thank you for sharing a warm flower on a chilly winter day! your photography is beautiful.

Babooshka said...

Incredible shots.

katy said...

That first thistle is actually swamp thistle (Cirsium muticum), one of the MN native species - so don't feel guilty about admiring it! Almost any variety of thistle is good if you're looking for goldfinches, though. Besides feasting on the seed, they use the thistle down to line their nests. It's a real treat to watch them harvesting it.