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Our June Bird Study: Lesser Goldfinches Eat My Sunflowers

6 27 11 Sunflower Leaves - Eaten by Finches
Sunflowers in our garden (self-seeded). Tasty snack for the goldfinches.

We have a beautiful songbird in our backyard that sings to us as we garden. He often is seen in our finch feeder but he also has another part of his diet that is interesting. The Lesser goldfinch eats our sunflower’s leaves! They must be so very light because they can land on the leaves and they hardly dip under the weight. They nibble the green parts of the leaves and leave holes and skeleton leaves on the plants.

I found this video on that shows what we observed in our garden.

5 11 11 Garden birds Goldfinch in the Birdbath
I caught this Lesser goldfinch in our birdbath….bathing and singing.

There is a lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 10) and a previous Outdoor Hour Challenge (Yellow Birds) for the goldfinch which includes this link: Get Gorgeous Goldfinches! The article gives you tips for attracting and then feeding your own goldfinches. If you would like to hear the goldfinches song, you can listen at

Goldfinch Notebook Page
We used a photo and the notebook page from the June Newsletter.

We read on that the Lesser goldfinch sometimes makes its nest in among grapevines to shade the nest from the sun. We think our finches are nesting in our grapevines that are near our back birdfeeder. I never thought to look there.

We love these little birds and even though they cause a little mischief in the sunflower patch, we hope they stick around for awhile.

This is the last of our June Newsletter Challenges. We were able to complete all four this time.
Here are links to the other three:
Garden Critter: Honeybee
Tree: Sitka Spruce
Crop Plant: Corn

Tweet and See button

Now for our Tweet and See list for June 2011
Backyard and Neighborhood:

  1. Turkey vultures
  2. Steller’s jay
  3. Oak titmouse
  4. Lesser goldfinch
  5. Anna’s hummingbirds
  6. California quail
  7. Western scrub jays
  8. Mourning doves
  9. Acorn woodpecker
  10. Common raven
  11. Wild turkeys
  12. Cooper’s hawk
  13. White-breasted nuthatch
  14. California towhee
  15. Spotted towhee
  16. House finches
  17. American crows

Tidepool morning and Crows
Trip to Oregon-There were more birds that I didn’t know so I can’t list:

  1. Osprey
  2. Brown pelican
  3. Song sparrow
  4. American crows
  5. Turkey vultures
  6. American robins
  7. White-crowned sparrows
  8. Western gull
  9. California quail
  10. Black oysercatcher
  11. Winter wren

Tidepool Morning and the Gulls

Happy Birding!

6 thoughts on “Our June Bird Study: Lesser Goldfinches Eat My Sunflowers

  1. Oh how neat! Eating the leaves? Ours eat the seeds and act like it is the hardest job ever to pull the seed out of the sunflower head. I love your photo of the finch perched at the bird bath. And what a wonderful list – from the coast too!

  2. Wow, I didn’t realize that goldfinches would eat the leaves of the sunflowers…I would have thought just the seeds! I learned something new 🙂

  3. Finches were eating ours, too! It was driving us crazy trying to find bugs eating them, but it was those adorable little birds.

  4. Gorgeous pictures, especially the last one. Thanks for sharing and for commenting at Birders for Life! 🙂

  5. thanks for linking up! I love your pics, they are so different than down here in TN. Of course, I forgot to look up yellow birds in Hand. of Nature Study:)

  6. So glad you got to see the brown pelicans. They are a favorite of mine. Great lists! We too have really enjoyed watching the Goldfinches on our deck!

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