GOLDFINCHES RAVAGE ZINNIA BLOSSOMS

      Recently I posted a blog describing the multitude of butterflies, hummingbirds and other nectar feeders using the plants blooming in eight containers sitting on the deck of my Monroe County home.  When I posted that blog, I wondered if this backyard scene could be any more beautiful or intriguing.  This week the arrival of a single bird clearly demonstrated it indeed could.

       Last week my wife noticed petals were littering the floor around the pots containing zinnias.  At first, we thought this was simply a sign the flowers were beginning to fade.  The next day, however, she spotted a male American goldfinch plucking seeds and petals from the zinnias’ blossoms.

       The bird returns to ravage the zinnia blossoms several times a day.  Each time he departs, he leaves a new crop of colorful petals strewn like confetti about the floor of the deck.  By now, he has dismantled so many blossoms; the zinnia plants are not nearly as beautiful as they were a week ago.  We know the plants will regain their beauty once a new crop of buds opens up.  In the meantime, we are convinced the premature demise of the flowers is a small price to pay for the daily shows put on by this handsome, hungry backyard resident. 

       Since we first noticed an American goldfinch feeding on the zinnias growing on our deck, I have also seen them dining on zinnia seeds in the long narrow butterfly garden near my office.  Goldfinches are also eating dried black-eyed-susan seeds in a small garden located along our driveway.

       It is interesting to note that all the while goldfinches have been dining at flower seed heads, few of the birds have visited two feeders stocked with sunflower seeds.

       In recent weeks, others have told me they have noticed goldfinches eating zinnia and coneflower seeds in their yards.  I would not be surprised if this is happening in your backyard too.

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