Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Two good reasons to let dandelions grow

Reason number one is the lovely little American Goldfinch. These beautiful lemon yellow birds that are often called Yellow canaries by some, they just love the seeds. Maybe that is where they get some of that yellow color, from injesting some of the pollen from the dandelion. Nahh... just kidding there. A little garden fairy told me to say that.
The birds work so hard eating the seeds. They pull them from them from the cluster, waller them around so the seed part is in their mouth then sever the fuzzy end off and chew up the seed. It wears me out just watching them. They do so enjoy them.
The second reason is the Lark Sparrow. This colorful sparrow looks like a brute while munching alongside of a Goldfinch or Chipping Sparrow. It measures at a whopping 6.5" long. A Goldfinch is 5" and a Chipping Sparrow is a mere 5.5" long. The Lark Sparrow is a bird that is on a watch list for Inidana. They used to be common but are no longer thought to be so. The State Biologist likes to hear about areas where they are found nesting. Luckily we know of 4 places in Knox County where they nest.
So if your neighbors complain to you about the dandelions that are popping up in your garden you just tell them that you are helping at risk wildlife by leaving them in the garden.
Not only do the at risk birds like dandelions other birds, such as Indigo Buntings , White-crowed Sparrows and most other seed eating birds eat those seeds. Bees who are having a difficult time in early spring finding pollen love those blossoms too. So have a heart a leave a few for the wildlife.
My Dearly Beloved took these pictures for me. He had a difficult time getting the picture with the fuzzy part sticking out of their mouth. Especially with them so far away from where he sat. Thank you Dear.

26 comments:

Frances, said...

Good work DB on the photos. After years of fighting the dandelions, and we still dig them from some areas, we have been reading so much about what they offer the birds and the bees as well. Thanks for more reasons to leave them.

Jayne said...

Wonderful photos your hubby caught! Good reasons to leave the dandelions be. :c)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Goodmorning Frances, I do try to keep them out of the flower beds but in the green areas they aren't too bothersome.

Hi Jayne. I am glad I didn't get scolded for leaving dandelions, yet.

garden girl said...

Lisa, I don't think I'll ever convince DH to leave dandelions alone. He loves his dandelion-free lawn too much. At least now he pops them out with his dandelion tool instead of using weed killer. For that much I'm grateful.

We have a neighbor or two who let their dandelions grow with abandon. They more than make up for the lack of them in our lawn!

Carol said...

I don't have too many dandelions in my lawn, but do have some in the flower beds. People wonder where all the birds have gone, while they get rid of all the plants that provide them with food.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

GG I commend your Hubby for using the puller on the dandelions. I know this is a difficult issue for the lawn lovers.

I don't think that one could get rid of all the dandelions Carol. I osted this as a gentle reminder that they are good for something. If people ate more of their greens and birds the seeds they might be taken under control.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Lovely photos!

Frankly, I LIKE the dandelions. Pretty little flowers and edible greens! I've never actually EATEN them, mind you. But if times get hard...

Robin at Bumblebee

Susan said...

Sometimes we're so busy trying to get rid of weeds that we forget how important they are to wildlife. Beautiful birds!

beckie said...

Lisa, DB did take wonder full pictures and I'm sure he had to be very patient! You're right about eating them ourselves. My grandmother used to cook the new leaves and S's brother makes dandelion wine from the blooms. Like you, I try to keep them out of the flowers as they crowd their way in there, but we don't do anything to them in the lawn anymore.

Karen said...

I do love finches! Those pictures are great tell DB he did a great job! :)

In my "neck of the woods" there seem to be alot of dandelions popping up everywhere, seems to be more than last year.

My daughter likes dandelions too! LOL, she says "I know they are weeds mom but they are soooo pretty", (she's 7) She has been making little flower arrangements with them.

beckie said...

PS! Lisa, I have a bird slightly larger than a sparrow but kind of looks like one except he has black and white stripes on his head? Can't seem to find it in my book.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

We have dandelions everywhere this year, so the birds should have plenty to eat! We can't have weeds in the yard according to our covenant restrictions, so my hubby usually puts weed killer in the front, and I beg him to leave the back alone for the health of our dog and the wildlife. I try to keep those pulled by hand.

Great bird pictures! I've never actually seen the birds eating the dandelion seeds. Maybe they are eating the bird seed here instead.

arythrina said...

I do appreciate the excuse to leave the dandelions alone. I realized that most of my pictures lately have these bright yellow blobs in the background!

Joyce said...

This is interesting because I just posted about this on my blog tallgrassworship.blogspot.com. I'm with you-what real harm are they, if you can keep them out of the flowerbeds?

ChrisND said...

It's refreshing to find so many posting about keeping dandelions. I have always liked them even though they can be invasive. In the front I try to pick the blooms at least, as courtesy to my urban neighbors who try to conform to the strange idea of a sea of monocultured green.

Our dandelion blooms have not bloomed yet.

Marvin said...

And all this time I thought I let the dandelions grow just because I was more than a little lazy when it came to lawn work. Actually, I don't have a conventional lawn, so I let most all the "weeds" grow. Now, I have a legitimate reason.

My compliments to your DB. These are some great photos of the birds feasting on the dandelions.

4/25: Your spring seems to have caught up with ours. The photos in your walk in the woods look as if they could have been taken in our woods. Love your shot of the Jack in the Pulpit. We haven't found a photographically cooperative one of those yet.

4/26: Thanks for sharing all the eye candy from your garden. Beautiful photos.

4/27: Great shots of the box turtle and warbler. Congratulations on getting a great look at one of your seldom-seen birds. (We once had a little terrier that was a self-trained "turtle hound". Ya gotta admit that running down turtles is a lot easier than chasing squirrels.)

4/28: Great views of your garden ... it's beautiful ... but be careful up on that ladder.

(I'm obviously playing "catch up" here and trying to keep my dealings with Blogger comments to a minimum. Hope you don't mind.)

Cheryl said...

Thanks Lisa for such a wonderful wildlife post. I love the goldfinch and sparrow, both are just so pretty. And you mention the bees, I notice more and more people are. Our blogs do a lot for the wildlife in our countries, we are able to spread the word, every little helps. You will be pleased to know I have dandelions in my garden (r u really surprised???)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Lisa, I had no idea the birds ate the seeds. I wish they would come & eat all the flowers on the other side of the fence!

Gudl said...

very pretty and cute!

Pam/Digging said...

I love the goldfinch among the yellow dandelions. They match!

kate smudges said...

I am definitely going to use this if dandelions begin popping up in my garden. They grow with abandon in the back alley. I quite like them, although Lytton kills them off as it is his first stop on our way to the park.

If I saw as pretty a bird as the American Goldfinch, I'd be thrilled.

I loved the pictures of Luna inspecting the box turtle. Just wonderful.

mon@rch said...

I would never cut my lawn if I knew that I could get some Lark Sparrows like that! Bravo

Meems said...

Lisa, hubby does a really good job with the little fellows. Now I know where all my Gold finches have gone! HA. They don't stay around past April here and I really miss them... maybe it's the lack of dandelions in these parts?

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Dandelions are like violets in my book. I think they are very pretty, thank you very much! I leave them be!

Q said...

Dear Lisa,
I also love the dandelions. They are the flower of the poet.
Wonderful pictures. I do not have Lark Sparrows! They are pretty.
I so enjoy seeing your birds. The photo with the danelion seed in his beak is wonderful!
"Thank you", to your beloved!
Sherry

Barbara said...

I know a third reason to let dandelions grow...make jam of it (I'll post about it in May). A fourth reason could also be the flower bouquets I make with...:-) !!
Have a good time!