In my August 2, 2019 blog, I reported how American goldfinches ravaged the blossoms displayed by the zinnia plants growing in the large containers set on our deck. Watching the beautiful birds plucking the petals off the flowers and then gorging themselves on the seeds nestled at the base of the petals was so entertaining we were hoping the birds would return for another performance this year. Last week my wife found red zinnia petals littering the floor of the deck. Much to our delight, the birds have returned.

         In 2019, we first observed this behavior in late July. It is interesting to note that this year my wife discovered the unmistakable evidence of the birds’ activities late in June. We cannot help but wonder why the birds are visiting the flowers so much earlier this year.  

         In addition, another mystery has emerged. While red, pink, white, and orange zinnias are blooming in the same containers, so far the birds are only eating the seeds of the red zinnias. Is this a coincidence? Who knows?

         If zinnias are currently blooming on your deck or in your garden, keep your eyes peeled for zinnia petals scattered beneath the plants. If you find them, chances are, if you closely watch the plants, you will be able to witness this fascinating behavior.

         If you don’t have zinnias growing in your backyard, it is not too late to plant some. Zinnias have plenty of time to blossom and provide goldfinches with a late summer banquet.


  1. Fascinating observation! We have many gold finches that visit our yard. I need to plant some Zinnias so I can see this behavior. Love bird watching! 😊

  2. It is crazy! The gold finches literally destroyed my zinnias on my deck close to the hummingbird feeders! I have pots of zinnias in my front yard, and the finches have not bothered those blooms.

  3. Goldfinches also frequent our black eyed susans. If I don’t cut them back in the fall, the finches continue to feed on the seed heads.

  4. I was wondering why the petals were all over my deck an witness the gold finches it was beautiful I plan on planting more next year

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