Lesser Goldfinches Are Ravaging My Sunflowers

by Larry Jordan on August 7, 2011

Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) Female photos by Larry Jordan

I have two 36 inch Nyjer seed tube feeders made by Droll Yankees that attract goldfinches and Pine Siskins like crazy.  Little did I know that Lesser Goldfinches (Spinus psaltria) like a bit of salad with their seeds.  Click on photos for full sized images.

According to one source I read, Lesser Goldfinches like the male pictured above, “nibble at leaf margins and eat small new leaves.”  Apparently, they not only like Nyjer and sunflower seed, they love the sunflower plant’s leaves as well.

Here you can see a few Lesser Goldfinches chowing down on a sunflower that’s growing next to a young Corkscrew Willow in our garden.

We actually planted the sunflowers mostly for the birds but they don’t produce many seeds when their leaves are all gone.

Well at least this activity must be keeping my Nyjer seed bill down a little bit 😉

To see more great bird photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

TexWisGirl August 8, 2011 at 4:00 am

how cute are they? they really are stripping them down. 🙂


Phil August 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

It’s really interesting that the Lesser Goldfinches seem to eat so much vegetation Larry and I’ve never heard of finches eating greenery. I wonder if they do it all year round or just at certain seasons?


Mick August 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

At least it’s nice to know that your garden is being appreciated!


Amy August 9, 2011 at 9:04 am

Well that’s just cute. I would love to see that!


Patricia Downey August 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

Oh! Those greedy little precious creatures 🙂 Love the sequence.


NatureFootstep August 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

most intresting. I have never seen birds eating leaves, or sallad, like that before. The video really shows how it is done. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that.


Linda August 25, 2016 at 8:26 am

Oh yes! Finches are great salad eaters. They devour our sunflower leaves and also our chard and beet greens.


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