by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Sunflowers - Free Lunch"

Lesser Goldfinches

         Sunflowers seem to herald in the end of summer in southern Utah. The fields of Sunflowers along the freeways, and the spots of Sunflowers next to the roads and highways in full bloom have a way of making life cheery as the season changes.
         This is a great year for Sunflowers. Sunflowers may come up voluntarily year after year, or they can be planted anew. This year we added sulfur to our soil and plant growth has been spectacular. We planted beautiful red and russet colored Sunflowers with a head six inches wide along with our
lesser goldfinchwonderful annual Sunflowers. A side benefit of beautiful Sunflowers is that it is a drawing card for birds. Last week Lesser Goldfinches started showing up in our backyard. The Sunflowers I see out my window have multiple small Lesser Goldfinches zipping from flower to flower gathering this year’s harvest of seeds. I could swear there must be a sign somewhere on each plant to advertise Free Lunch.

         Many of the Lesser Goldfinches we are seeing will continue to fly south for the winter into areas with abundant food supplies. A good Bird Field Guide will show that their primary winter range is Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Mexico will receive the greatest number of all. The range map also affirms there is a little finger of winter range that extends into the Washington County area.

        The Lesser Goldfinch with its beautiful lemon yellow breast, greenish-black back and wings with white wing bars is plentiful here all winter long. The stores selling bird seed have plenty of thistle socks available, just for Lesser Goldfinches, so if you want to hear their musical chime like songs, make sure your yard has a sock. Your thistle sock can be refilled with bulk thistle seed by using a funnel. Make this the year to enjoy each bird you encounter. You are invited to monthly presentations and field trips with the Red Cliffs Audubon to make this happen. For more information call 435 673-0996 or go to our webpage at

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