Over the past few years an increasing number of American goldfinches have set up shop near my house. In part this is due to the thistle seed I provide these colorful songbirds, but in larger measure the presence of the goldfinches is a function of the sunflowers I plant around my yard.
The goldfinches especially like to tear apart the sunflowers just when the flower head begins to form seeds from the florets. The goldfinch in the accompanying photograph spent five solid minutes tearing apart a flower head before noticing how close I was getting to his perch.
The birds also exhibit the courtesy to wait a few weeks before attacking my sunflowers, allowing me time to appreciate the simple beauty of the flowers before having to watch them be devoured. By the time the feasting commences, the sunflowers have long since passed their floral prime, and the sunflower mauling provides the dying plant a new purpose.