Baby birds now? Amazingly, yes. While many other birds are well on their way south for the winter, American Goldfinches are still dutifully raising their babies.
One of the sounds of the fall garden here at my house is the insistent “feed me, feed me” from the baby goldfinches. Listen to the calls here. Maybe you have heard this sound around your house.
Why do Goldfinches wait so long to have their families? The food and nesting material they like the best are available later in the year.
By late August and September, many flowers have gone to seed. American Goldfinches are almost exclusively seed eaters, which is actually quite unique. Most birds in our area feed their young a diet full of insects. The only time a Goldfinch will eat a bug is by mistake.
The soft down of thistles and milkweed is used by Goldfinches for nesting material, and they eat the seeds as well.
If you take a look in fields or roadsides, you may see Goldfinches perched on top of thistles, pulling the down out for their nests.
You can attract American Goldfinches to your garden by planting flowers like purple coneflowers and black eyed susans, then letting them go to seed in the late summer.
You have to be willing to let a certain amount of neatness and perfection go, and let your garden mature and go a bit wild in the late summer, but it is totally worth it.
Before you know it, you’ll have goldfinches stopping by.
Once the goldfinches find you, they will keep coming back.
And they might even bring their babies!
Thanks for visiting my blog! Next time, I will be writing more about the rewards of gardening for wildlife.
For more on American Goldfinches, or any other bird you may be interested in, take a look at Cornell University’s excellent All About Birds website.