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A first time visiter to my garden this year has been a group of gold finches and green finiches while watching them feeding from the bird table I noticed one was eating the seed heads from the Stokesia Aster which has almost finished flowering , I did want to pull it up should I leave it there a while longer? do birds normally find food from Stokesia aster plants ? .


Goldfinches eat from all sorts of seedheads in the garden - another favourite is nigella - in the centre of a big town my daughter's garden is visited by goldfinches and it's amazing to see them balance on the delicate nigella stems to take the seeds.  

I leave almost all seedheads on my perennials for the birds  they love most of them - I think the only ones I regularly remove are lupins and delphiniums, to promote a second flush of flower.

Apart from providing the birds with much needed food, I think the seedheads look wonderful in the winter, covered with sparkling frost.

Be assured I shall leave the seed heads a while long and work hard on my self to be a less of a tidy gardener ,but like you the I shall be cutting of the Lupins and delphiniums heads.

goldfinches started coming to my garden when i started to hang out niger seed.

i also leave all seed heads insitu, i dont do tidy!

Your Stokesia is over!? Mine isn't even in bud yet. Must watch to see if the goldfinches go for it. Yes, Niger seeds - they love 'em!


Its almost over so I normally would pull it up this time of year knowing that its either left behind roots or seeds have fallen, its in the wrong place , as there is an asiltbe behind it . I will try the Niger seeds as this is the first year I have put seeds out in the summer months normally its winter and spring I feed . This time I tried sunflower hearts again the first  time I have bought them and suddenly its like all the Kingdom of birds have come to share the treats .. thanks for your replys all.


They just love the sunflower hearts don't they? 


Janet I tryto feed all year round too and I just put a bit less in the feeders. It's amazing how many birds visit. The other day the sparrows were there- Mum/Dad feeding the baby! I even had magpies doing the same- one hanging off the feeder and then picking up the fallen pieces to feed it's chick- which was huge of course! Something very amusing about them even though they can be a real nuisance. I always use the sunflower hearts so that there's no messy husks and the better quality stuff means no  barley to bulk it up- more cost effective  in the long run.

Jim Macd

My birds are going through a large feeder every day or two plus they have two others that I top up as well, they're using far more now than they do in winter. The finches ate loads of dandelion seeds but I don't have many seed pods in the garden at the moment so they're just taking from the feeders. It's strange how one week I get loads of golds, then next greens, then bull's etc. I have loads of sparrows which I'm thrilled about since when I moved I never saw them. I get so many sparrows that I accidentally hit one with a bit of soil I through out the door brought in stuck to the stepladder, thankfully the soil and the sparrow chick were going in the same direction, it swooped in from about the door and flew under the bit of soil. I couldn't beleive it's bad luck, but it was just a bit shocked and flew off after a minute while it got its whereabouts again. Poor thing I felt sick I'd hurt it. Nice to see it fly off.


Jim sparrows are apparently in decline but I have quite good numbers visiting at this little house I've been in only a few months, and at my last house which was quite rural we had a load which nested in the willow trees by the pond and were very entertaining having their baths in the pond edges and squabbling with all the other birds. Goldfinches and Bullfinches seem thin on the ground up here - a couple of each at last house. I expect they would have got more plentiful if I'd been there longer as we were feeding all the time and they were coming in more and more. I've noticed a big decline in greenfinches in the last 15 years or so which is a shame.

Jim Macd

Hi Fairygirl, yes, I know sparrows, one of most common birds when I was a child, are now becoming rare, so I wasn't surprised not to see many when we first moved in in 2010, but I'm so overwhelmed to play host to a growing number. My neighbour's a member of the RSPB and she's always going on about how pleased she is with what, she sees as my doing ,that we have more in our two gardens. I'm totally organic and grow as many natives as I can. I wish I had a pond but my dogs would never be out of it and the hous would be black with mud all the time so we just have a big bird bath which the dogs think is their drinking bowl. I've planted native hedge all around the fence so I hope that makes them nest. I've got a huge log pile which is stuffed with braches  to act as a temporary hedge until the real one grows. They love it. There's always squabling noises going on in there. I've got Old mans beard and a rose growing over it for more cover for them. I've no idea if they nested in there but I put a few nest boxes in for them and the robins. The robin preferred my old bomb shelter though. I can't say I blame it, it's certainly secure. 

:- )




 A week last Saturday we had a full house visiting,Goldfinch on the niger seeds,Bullfinch feeding from the ground, the Greenfinch were the most entertaining though,some landed  on the top of the stem and rode down to the lawn whilst others stopped on top picking the seeds. 

Over the last couple of days House Martins have been flitting about, I can't see a nest anywhere, so think they must be after the insects.


Jim- yes sparrows were so common when I was a child too. Quite sad really. 

Have you ever thought of making a raised pond and putting a little fence round it so that the dogs can't get in? At a previous house we built an extension and as there was a slope, we put a retaining wall in and had a raised area right round the side and front of the house.Where it came round under the front window I made a wildlife pond which gradually merged with the rest of the planting. Great entertainment as it established very quickly.

Netherfield- great pix but a pity I can't enlarge them! Lovely that you had so many visitors and it just shows how valuable ' summer' feeding is. Bullfinches are terrific looking birds - what a colour they are!

Goldfinch eating seed heads from the Stokesia

i hang out sunflower hearts,niger seeds and nuts. i have to refill every 2 days. goldfinch, bullfinch,sparrow or wren, im not sure. blue tits and robins. feral pigeons and squirrles plus resident robin. all very entertaining.



this is a lovely little wild bird feeder to attract goldfinches - I've fill mine with niger seeds, sometimes twice a day!! Lovely birds to watch

great Annie 1,  thanks for that, i will get one


Jante- that is such a lovely pic! 

Just shows how worthwhile it is putting food out all the time- especially when you see adults feeding their young like that.



 An afternoon well spent sitting in the shade guarding the birds

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