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A video of an American Goldfinch eating my sunflower’s seeds
|| 8/20/2008 || 7:43 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

An American Goldfinch eats my sunflower’s seeds from Nikolas Schiller on Vimeo

In May I received two sunflower seedlings from an exhibitor at Artomatic and I decided to plant them alongside two tomato plants in a large plastic pot on my third floor deck. After diligently feeding them about 5 quarts of water each day, they bloomed in mid-July. A few years back I harvested the seeds from a sunflower plant too prematurely and ended up with partially matured seeds that were unusable. This year I decided to not cut of the heads of the plants to ensure that the seeds would mature and could be used for next year’s planting.

Last week on Thursday, August 14, my 3rd floor deck was visited by a curious guest who announced that it was time to harvest the seeds. I had seen an American Goldfinch before, but in the 4 years years that I’ve lived in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, this was my first sighting. I found that his coloring matched the sunflowers perfectly and made me wonder if the specie obtained its yellow coloring generations ago by feeding on sunflowers?

After noticing him return to the plant a second time, I decided to place a camera on a ladder, hit record, go inside, and remotely film him eating my sunflower’s seeds. It’s a no-frills video, just the wildlife of Washington, DC. At about 6:20 there is the obligatory police siren that one can never seem to escape from in this city. At about 9:15 a Mocking Bird swoops down and attacks the American Goldfinch. You can see the Mocking Bird follow the American Goldfinch in the lower corner about a second later, but the American Goldfinch returns and continues to eat for a few more minutes.

The day after recording this video I decided to cut the heads of the sunflowers and harvest the seeds, but due to the mess recently left on the deck, he’s been back with a hearty appetite and has eaten a few more of the smaller heads. No biggy. I hope he comes back next year.


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Post Title: A video of an American Goldfinch eating my sunflower’s seeds
Post Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Animals, Ornithology, Video, Vimeo
Last edited by Nikolas Schiller on 6/5/2009 at 11:58 am



  1. How could you tell it was a mockingbird that attacked the goldfinch? It happened so fast in the video that it was just a blur. I may be wrong, but I don’t think they compete for food, so I’m surprised at the attack. I believe that mockingbirds can be pretty territorial and aggressive, but if the goldfinch was crowding the mockingbird’s territory, I wouldn’t think it would have waited 9 minutes to try to scare it off.

    Comment by gilahi — 8/20/2008 @ 8:51 am

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