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My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather.

~ Terri Guillemets ~

From the GTG Garden and Greenhouse

The greenhouse has been sanitized and most of the fall arrivals are tucked in for the winter. As the days get shorter and the temperatures cooler, the Brugmansia are putting out their final flushes for the season. I am excited as all of the seedlings have flower buds and I hope I'll be able to get some pictures. Our Fall Driveway Sale will be the weekend of October 8th, come by and see for yourself!

Happy fall planting, Belle

Green Thumbs Galore LLC

Find the Gold in your Backyard

by Dava Stewart

I love birds - pet birds, ducks, chickens, song birds, it makes no difference, I am fascinated by them. There’s just something amazing about how much individual character birds have, and how much you can tell about that character from watching them. The goldfinch is no exception, and is one of my favorite song birds.

Goldfinches are lovable little birds. In the summer, males are stunning. They gather and chatter and perform all sorts of amazing acrobatic feats. They live year round in most parts of the US, roughly from Maine to North Carolina in the east and from Washington to Utah in the west.

Some interesting facts about goldfinches:

  • They are also known as “wild parakeets.”
  • Goldfinches undergo two complete molts each year, while all other species of finches have only one.
  • Three types of goldfinches are native to the US: the American Goldfinch, the Lesser Goldfinch and the Lawrence Goldfinch.
  • Goldfinches mate and nest from late June until August, which is later than most other birds, probably because their favored food source is available later.
  • The longest recorded life span of a goldfinch is 10 years, 5 months; most live 3-6 years.

Male goldfinches are easy to recognize in the summer because of their bright, gorgeous coloring. Mostly bright yellow, with a black cap, wings and tail feathers, they also have bright white barring on their wings. After they molt in the fall, they are a duller yellow, and look much more like their female counterparts.

Along the Gulf Coast, in Florida, Texas and in the Southwestern states, goldfinches are migratory. They spend the winter in the south, but head to areas along the Canadian border and farther north for the summer.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place where goldfinches stay year round, it’s easy to encourage them to come to your yard. Their conical beaks and delicate feet help them maintain a diet of almost only seeds. One of the reasons that goldfinches mate later than other song birds is that they wait until milk weed, thistle, echinacea, gailardia, and sunflowers go to seed.

When goldfinches eat from feeders they tend to prefer sunflower and nyjer. You will want to hang the feeder in an area that is safe for the birds -  several feet away from other feeders and in a brushy area if possible. Their natural habitat is in fields, flood plains and somewhat open areas, rather than in the interior of forests.

These seed-eaters are happy with almost any kind of feeder and will also eat seed that has spilled on the ground. If you do have goldfinches coming to your feeders, you should be careful to keep the area underneath raked to prevent disease. Goldfinches are susceptible to House Finch Eye Disease (conjunctivitis), so if you see one with what appears to be an injured eye, that could be the cause. The best preventive measure to keep your birds healthy is to clean all your feeders on a regular basis even when there are no signs of disease.

Our Fall Driveway Sale is scheduled for the weekend of October 8th, 2011. Call or check our web site for directions.


October in the Garden:

For the Birds :
Whole Peanut Feeders

Made in the USA:
Copper Bird Feeders

Deter Squirrels