I have seen all sorts of birds besides the Downy on it, such as Goldfinches, Red-bellied woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren... The bees and bugs also flock to it.
You have to keep in mind that the ones I am showing you have been through some pretty rough weather and don't look their best.
They are a biennial so you don't get these tall flower spires until the second year. The first year you get a plant that is made up of big flannel textured leaves. I think they rival lambs ears in their beautiful way.
The top of this stalk is an unusual shape. It looks as though it has fanned out. Usually they are clyinder shaped all the way up.Even at the end of their life cycle I think they are intersting in a sculptural way. I have tried to grow them several times. I don't know why I can't get them to grow. They grow on road sides and in ground where nothing else will dare put a root down. I know they send a deep tap root when they do get started and you can't transplant them. So I have gathered seed once more to try to get a few to grow around in the garden. I as well as the birds and bees would enjoy them.
Are any of you thinking about growing some wild flowers? Do you have a particular favorite? If you have some questions about wild flowers the folks over at Gardening Gone Wild has posted some questions from their forum with answers by a professional that might be helpful.