Monday, August 8, 2011

Goldfinch on Coneflower

How many birds dance on the head of a coneflower? 
Only one that I've seen - the American goldfinch.


The male goldfinch, dressed in his brightest summer yellow, goes to some trouble to get the coneflower seeds.  He clings to the stem, digging deep into the head with his beak, while the stem sways with his weight.


The goldfinch moves from side to side of the flower, intently focused on getting to the seeds, and digging, digging with his beak. Perhaps this is why coneflowers look so ragged this time of year?


The goldfinch then moves to the patch where beebalm and coneflowers intermingle.  I admit that the seedheads are not attractive to a conventional gardener. But they provide food for birds - and also are sources of seedlings (free plants!). This is a reason I don't deadhead until early spring.


After much swaying on the stem and contorting his head, the goldfinch looks at the photographer.


Not to be outdone, the ruby-throated hummingbird shows up to feed on potted impatiens.


Some days I have waited for hours with the camera for birds to appear in a particular spot. Today, I expected to have no time to watch nature because I am crashing on a deadline for my thesis proposal. But I happened to be walking by the window, saw the goldfinch outside, and one thing led to another. 
A small grace. 


8 comments :

greggo said...

small grace indeed. a blessing. I have cone flowers and goldfinch, but have never seen one do that. cool.

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

Those unexpected moments are the greatest! I don't deadhead either so that the birds can get the seeds but I have never witness them actually doing that. Very cool!

Bridget said...

How beautiful! Well captured.

Sheila Read said...

Glad you enjoyed the photos! It was fun taking them - and taking the time out from a busy day to watch the goldfinch at work!

PlantPostings said...

That is incredible! I've never seen it happen either. I was just about ready to deadhead the Coneflowers, but now I think I'll just leave them for a while. Do you clip them before winter or wait until spring?

Sheila Read said...

PlantPostings, I usually leave the seedheads until spring, since winter is a time of shortage of food for the birds. I kind of like the way they look in winter, too, when there's not much going on the garden ...

Stacy said...

Sheila, what wonderful photos, and what a lovely moment to be given! I love watching finches at flower heads--why is it so much more satisfying than seeing them at a feeder? Hope your thesis proposal went according to plan.

Donna said...

Sheila these are the sweetest pics...it is why I leave my flowers not deadheaded...critters love them...as you say a wonderful grace to see the bird waiting for you!!