do birds eat sunflower leaves

Are your sunflowers being stripped? Are the leaves acquiring non-snail-like holes and then disappearing altogether? You may be feeding the birds, but not with the seeds!

Lesser goldfinches apparently are nuts over sunflower leaves. They will tear little bits of the leaves off and injest them, and within a day or so there will be nothing but a stem and a flower.

If your goal is to feed the birds, then this is okay. If you have bird problems on your vegetables such as peppers, then you may want to plant sunflowers off to the side to distract them.

Why do they eat sunflower leaves? They must like a little salad with their seeds, and sunflowers are particularly yummy for them. In searching the Internet for suggestions as to why they like sunflower leaves so much, there were many postings about the incidents, and yet most respondents insisted that the birds were after bugs on the leaves, or that snails came in the night and ate the leaves!

This occurrence seems to happen mostly in California, and other than bird nets (which one person said that the lesser goldfinches chewed through!) or planting sunflowers thickly (one for them, one for you), you may as well just enjoy the show. Ours come up from dropped or buried birdseed, and when the plants are growing their flowers, suddenly they are beset by birds who skeletonize the plant. We’re okay with that; it saves a little cost on the very expensive Niger thistle seed! (Oh, and by the way, Niger thistle isn’t thistle seed at all).

Identify Damage from a Goldfinch on Sunflower Leaves

The lesser goldfinch’s range includes the Western U.S. S. habitats of oak, cottonwood, and willow all the way south into Mexico and the Peruvian Andes The lesser goldfinch visits feeders in residential areas with house finches, pine siskins, and American goldfinches.

What do goldfinches eat? Mostly the seeds of certain trees, grasses, weeds, and members of the composite family of plants. Madrone, elder, and coffeeberry fruits are added by lesser goldfinches to complete their diets.

According to experts, the lesser goldfinch likes eating greens because they provide it with extra vitamins and minerals that it needs for growth and breeding. “Skeletonized leaves” or “shredded leaves with angular holes” are the terms used to describe eaten sunflower leaves. ”.

If the damage is severe, scare them away by hanging reflective objects like glittery streamers. But since birds often grow used to scare tactics, it’s helpful to move the device every few days. Another choice is to cover the plants with bird netting to provide protection. A commercial repellent is available that can discourage feeding.

It has been observed that house finches consume the leaves of low-growing vegetable plants. These can be protected with row covers.

You might be feeding the birds, but not the seeds! Are your sunflowers being stripped? Are the leaves developing holes that aren’t like those on snails and then going away completely?

They must enjoy a little salad with their seeds, and sunflowers are especially tasty to them, so why do they eat the leaves? When asked why they liked sunflower leaves so much, most respondents insisted that the birds were chasing bugs on the leaves or that snails had come in the night and eaten the leaves, despite the fact that there were numerous postings about the incidents on the Internet!

Lesser goldfinches apparently are nuts over sunflower leaves. After tearing off small pieces of the leaves and ingesting them, all that will remain in a day or so is a stem and a flower.

This seems to be a California phenomenon, so other than putting up bird nets (which someone reported the smaller goldfinches chewed through!) or heavily planting sunflowers (one for them, one for you), you might as well just take in the spectacle. Ours sprout from buried or dropped bird seed, and just as the plants are about to bloom, birds attack, skeletonizing the plant. That’s fine with us since it helps us avoid spending as much money on the incredibly costly Niger thistle seed (which, incidentally, isn’t really thistle seed at all).

This is acceptable if feeding the birds is your main objective. If birds are bothering your vegetables, like peppers, you might want to plant sunflowers off to the side as a deterrent.


Why do birds eat my sunflower leaves?

Apparently, this is very common in California. They are not eating insects on the leaves, but actually swallowing chunks of the greenery! The sunflower seeds don’t seem to interest them. Some bird experts believe that the minerals and vitamins are necessary for the birds during breeding and growth periods.

What is eating my sunflower leaves?

There are many different cutworm species that feed on sunflower, most often right after emergence. For most species, eggs laid the previous summer hatch each May or June. Cutworms can damage young plants above or below the soil surface by cutting through the stem and feeding on foliage.

What bird eats sunflowers?

sunflower — will attract the greatest variety of birds. Sunflower seeds are the seeds favored by most seed-eating birds, some 40 species including cardinals, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, house and purple finches, American goldfinches, brown-headed nuthatches, and red-bellied woodpeckers, to name a few.