American Goldfinch, male, eating Purple Coneflower seeds
American Goldfinch with fledgling
Fledgling getting fed
This is the time of year our American Goldfinches flock to our Purple Coneflower, which is starting to go to seed. Above is one very enterprising fledgling goldfinch who landed on the Purple Coneflower, begged from its father, and was rewarded with coneflower seeds fed by its dad.
American Goldfinches are late nesters and the young have recently left the nest. They will continue to be fed by their parents for a variable amount of time, which can be up to a month. Listen for their distinctive "chipee, chipee, chipee" calls. Eventually they will learn to feed themselves and we have already seen a few young goldfinches helping themselves to the seeds of coneflower and some of the other flowers in our garden. Purple Coneflower is such an attractive plant. We enjoy the flowers and then the goldfinches relish the seeds — win-win!
We plant our extensive gardens with many plants and flowers to attract birds. At this time of year goldfinches are eating the seeds of Purple Coneflower, Verbena bonariensis, rudbeckias, and sunflowers. Later they will feast on the seed heads of Joe-Pye Weed and asters.
Gardening Tip: To attract more birds leave up the seed heads of your flowers! This will attract finches and sparrows such as Chipping, Song, White-troated, and White-crowned Sparrows. Enjoy!!
For more ideas on bird-friendly plants see our Stokes Bird Gardening Book.