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When you put out thistle seed to attract goldfinches, you're also putting out goldfinches that attract Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus). This is all part of the natural scheme, of course, so if you want to feed birds it's best to just sit back and delight in watching the predator-prey relationships that develop at your backyard feeder. (The blue-gray plumage, red eye color, and size of the bird in the photo above reveal that it is an adult male sharpie.)

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.