I never knew that American Goldfinches eat Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) until several years ago. It was a wonderful discovery to be introduced to these beautiful birds with their startling contrast between brilliant yellow and black feathers. Only the males are these beautiful colors. As it often happens in nature, the female is usually subtly colored; I imagine so as not to capture so much attention! Of course in the winter the male loses his bright yellow colors and looks just like the female.
I want to add a picture of a Purple Coneflower from the summertime. So you get an idea what these seed pods used to look like in all their beauty and glory in the summer.
I was cleaning out my garden yesterday. You know starting to cut out all the dead flower stalks from last year. I noticed the remnants of the Purple Coneflower or Echinacea flowers. Some were still totally intact, some partly eaten and some completely devoured! I wanted to share these images with you. The one above is partially eaten. There are still plenty of seeds on this dried flower bud. The lighter color that you see is where there seeds have been eaten leaving the under part exposed. Contrast this picture to the one underneath where the seed pod hasn’t been touched.
By this time of year it is hard to find an intact Purple Coneflower dried flower head. The birds are ravenous and even though, I have a special American Goldfinch feeder they still eat plenty of Echinacea seeds from the dried flowers.
Did you Know that American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower?
If you have Purple Coneflowers in your garden and the dried flowers look like my pictures then you know some bird has been eating the tops . Maybe you already have American Goldfinches visiting your garden. The last image that I have for you above is a seed top where all the seeds have been completely devoured. It is an artistic composition as it looks so stark and bereft of seeds! But is also has a beautiful and pleasing shape not like the spiky seed head.