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I've seen lesser goldfinch eat sunflower seeds right from the seedheads but, have you ever seen Lesser Goldfinch eat the leaves of sunflowers? They did that for the last two summers in Albuquerque. Most leaves ended up with holes and veins, no leaf material. Early on, I inspected the leaves to see if bugs were the attraction but, I could not find any. I planted extra seeds this year so they have more plants to dine on. If this bird wants leaf material in their diets, I'm wondering if eating mostly black thistle seeds from my sock feeders made them need the greenery for a balanced diet. Anyone know?
ReetPetite, they eat the leaves of sunflowers here, too, though apparently not as entirely as they do at your place. Here, they mostly just take a few pieces near the stem. I don't know if they are eating it or using it for nest material.