Sitting at my computer, I see out of the corner of my eye tufts of something white floating down from the sky. When I look over, I see a pine siskin pulling seedheads out of the large thistles. I know my neighbors aren’t happy with the fact that I let these weeds grow, because they are considered invasive pests and ugly with their thorned leaves. But the birds love them, not just the siskins but the hummingbirds, too. This is one of the last blooming flowers of the year, so it’s something for them to feast on as all the other flowers dry up.
Luckily, the thistles don’t spread much, stay in a small area to the east of the cabin, or my neighbors might be threatening me. In the seasonal calendar of life here in Meeker Park, it’s one of the natural markers, like the bluebirds arriving in April, the hummingbirds in May, the house wrens starting to sing in June. At the end of every August, the pine siskins suddenly appear and then just as suddenly go on their way. Just like summer.