American Goldfinches are one of the few birds you can attract to your garden or backyard habitat. I snapped this photo of a male American Goldfinch eating Purple Coneflower seeds.
When to Stop Dead-heading the Seed Heads
Seeing a Goldfinch dining on flower seeds lets us know it is time to stop dead-heading the flowers. Dead-heading is removing the flower blossoms that have finished blooming. If you have native flowers with plenty of delicious seeds, you can leave the seed heads until the birds pick them clean.
Finches and other seed-eating birds like House Finches will eat the seeds of plants through the autumn and winter. I leave the seed stalks up all winter. I cut them down in spring when the plants grow again. The native plants are perennials which live for several years.
If you choose local indigenous plants, they will survive all seasons of your climate.
Summer and Autumn Blooming Flowers for American Goldfinches
Here is a list of summer and autumn blooming flowers which provide seeds for birds.
Native Plants to Attract Birds
- Sunflowers (Helianthus species)
- Cup Plant (Siliphium perfoliatum)
- Wild Senna (Cassia bebecarpa)
- Blazing Stars (Liatris species)
- Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
- Goldenrod (Solidago species)
- Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia species)
- Joe-pye Weed (Eupatorium species)
- Ironweed (Veronica noveboracensis)
- Coreopsis (Coreopsis species)
- Asters (Asters species)
- Sedums species (esp. Autumn Joy)
- Zinnias (Zinnia species)
- Marigolds (Tagetes species)
- Cosmos (Cosmos species)
Maybe a few of these plants can be added to your ‘garden wish list’ for next spring. If you want a list of local indigenous plants to grow in your garden, there are gardening books with lists of native plants for various regions of the U.S. and Canada. See the post, What is a Naturalist’s Garden?
The National Wildlife Federation publishes a good getting started guide.