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Old 08-15-2011, 06:03 PM   #1
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Default Goldfinch in late summer

I have been seeing many goldfinches in the prairie bed eating coneflower seeds since mid-summer. They have been the dominant bird species I've been seeing out and about near the house. I know the cardinals, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches and such retreat to the woods for the summer but I have recently restocked the feeders with sunflower seed and those other birds are being drawn out by that I think.

The goldfinch have such a lovely melodious song that they are hard to ignore, you just want to find the source of that voice when you hear it. I have yet to capture a goldfinch feasting on a coneflower in a photograph but I know a few of you have been lucky enough to do so. Now I am reluctant to even walk by the prairie bed because a dozen goldfinch will fly up and away from their meals. Yet knowing they are feasting is making me very happy, that was the intent of the garden!

Are any of you finding a plethora of goldfinches in your gardens this year?
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
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I have been seeing many goldfinches in the prairie bed eating coneflower seeds since mid-summer. They have been the dominant bird species I've been seeing...Now I am reluctant to even walk by the prairie bed because a dozen goldfinch will fly up and away from their meals.
I loved reading your post. Your joy at seeing this species is clear in your post.
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...knowing they are feasting is making me very happy, that was the intent of the garden!
This spoke to me...it is such a wonderful additional reward to what we do. We not only get to enjoy the beauty of our native plants, but seeing wildlife utilize the habitat we provide is such a wonderful experience.

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Are any of you finding a plethora of goldfinches in your gardens this year?
I would not say a plethora, but I've seen at least one or two coming close to the window to enjoy the black oil sunflower seeds FRESH from the seedhead itself. They are very cheerful looking, and it is great to see them in the summer without a feeder in sight.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:10 PM   #3
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A dozen? lucky you. I can only imagine that many linrose, but I'm so happy to hear they are there in numbers for you to see and your prairie bed is drawing them.
I am happy to have two at once, they eat the seeds of the anise hyssop I encourage to grow along both sides of the driveway, right through the asphalt. They haven't moved on to the coneflower yet.
I'm also reluctant to pull the car into the driveway because they fly away.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:18 PM   #4
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I Now I am reluctant to even walk by the prairie bed because a dozen goldfinch will fly up and away from their meals.
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I'm also reluctant to pull the car into the driveway because they fly away.
I wouldn't worry too much abou that. I'm sure they will come back for their feast.

I went out in the backyard dozens of times only to see the goldfinch fly off to a tree a good distance away--and sometimes seeming to leave the yard entirely...but each day I saw it back...at least until the seeds were picked clean.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:41 PM   #5
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Yes, we are getting many goldfinches. They are so pretty and hit the garden looking for seed starting with the heliopsis in early summer then onto the Coneflower and liatris seed. But I think you are correct in that the favorite is the sunflowers both annual and perennial. Once the prairie dropseed starts getting seed something gets them very quickly, all of them, but I have yet to catch the culprit. This year there should be loads of seed so maybe there will be a few left for growing more. Or at least I will find out if the goldfinch is eating the grass seed.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:20 PM   #6
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Yes, we are getting many goldfinches. They are so pretty and hit the garden looking for seed starting with the heliopsis in early summer then onto the Coneflower and liatris seed. But I think you are correct in that the favorite is the sunflowers both annual and perennial. Once the prairie dropseed starts getting seed something gets them very quickly, all of them, but I have yet to catch the culprit. This year there should be loads of seed so maybe there will be a few left for growing more. Or at least I will find out if the goldfinch is eating the grass seed.
They are quite numerous here, too, though I cheat, I suppose, by having a niger seed feeder active. The time when they really put on a show here is when the river birch is seeding. They must come from miles for the event. I swear I've seen hundreds in the yard at a time during that period. Goldfinches love river birch seed!!!
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:18 AM   #7
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River birch, who knew??? That must be a sight jack!

I'll have to watch the prairie dropseed now that you mentioned it gloria, It's setting seed now. I've seen them alight on Indiangrass stems, it's entertaining to watch them sway on the flexible branches, perhaps they are eating those seeds too.

Did you purposely plant black oil sunflower seeds dap or did they self sow from the feeder? I have a few volunteers that are forming heads now near the deck feeder so I'll watch for goldfinches there too. On the way back from Lexington this weekend we saw a whole field of sunflowers planted in the median of Route 60, that was cool! They were all facing the sun of course. I've gotten to the point where I check out all the native plants along the side of the road wherever I travel. Rosinweed was everywhere in full bloom, I saw lots of little bluestem and Joe Pye Weed too. I wonder if the DOT had anything to do with that or they just occured naturally. I still saw some swaths of chicory though.

The prairie dropseed is forming seed.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:00 AM   #8
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The prairie dropseed is just starting to flower. The switchgrass has been flowering for awhile.
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Goldfinch in late summer-bike-ride-2-002.jpg   Goldfinch in late summer-bike-ride-2-003.jpg   Goldfinch in late summer-bike-ride-2-005.jpg   Goldfinch in late summer-bike-ride-2-008.jpg   Goldfinch in late summer-bike-ride-aug11-010.jpg  

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Old 08-16-2011, 06:47 PM   #9
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The time when they really put on a show here is when the river birch is seeding. They must come from miles for the event. I swear I've seen hundreds in the yard at a time during that period. Goldfinches love river birch seed!!!
Good to know! Thanks for sharing.

Do you think they come for other birch species as well?

I've read that they adore (or at least eat) sycamore seeds--I have one mature sycamore and am going to move some of the seedlings I've found into my woodland. I've yet to notice them eating the seeds, but I'll try to check it out this year.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:57 PM   #10
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Did you purposely plant black oil sunflower seeds dap or did they self sow from the feeder?
Both. I did plant some in pots early spring and started them in the sunporch...then some came up on their own from where I'd been feeding the birds.

Those that came up on their own seemed to have done better than those I started and transplanted. However, I did transplant some fairly big ones from where they came up and brought them closer to the house/window. It had been raining a lot and after a little wilting they did very well. Then there was a dry spell and I left the rest where they grew--even though they were in the way of where I was digging the pond.


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I've gotten to the point where I check out all the native plants along the side of the road wherever I travel. Rosinweed was everywhere in full bloom, I saw lots of little bluestem and Joe Pye Weed too. I wonder if the DOT had anything to do with that or they just occured naturally.
That is a very good reason for each state to plant flowers native to their area. I *love* to spot natural areas and *true* wildflowers (not those 'wildflower mixes') along the side of the road. Sadly, I rarely see many along the highways.

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The prairie dropseed is forming seed.
Nice picture. How tall does prairie dropseed grow?
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