Bird Watcher's General Store

07/14/00 - Thistlesocks


Dear Bird Folks,

My friend told me that I should try using something called a "thistle sock." What are they and are they any good?
- Mary, Wellfleet

Hi Mary,

Thistle socks have been around for years. They became popular just after argyle went out of fashion. Thistle socks are a small net bag that people put thistle seed in. Hang the bag out in your yard just like any other bird feeder. The birds, mostly goldfinches, cling to the bag and pick out the tiny thistle seeds right through the samll holes. Thistle socks are cheap to buy and the birds love'em. The down side is that seed falls out of the bag fairly easily and the bags offer the seed no protection from the weather. Also, the bags can be easily torn up by any seed-loving mammal.

So sure, Mary, what the heck? You are only young once, spring for the $2.50 and get yourself a thistle sock. The birds will be thrilled. And if it doesn't work out for you, you can always go back to wearing argyle.


Artwork by Catherine Clark


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