As you can see from this picture of a sunflower that I took a couple of years ago the leaves are nice and large and there are lots of them.
Well, that morning as I watched the Goldfinches something happened to those poor old sunflowers. At first I thought they were just eating the ants off the plants. There are always lots of ants everywhere and I know the birds do eat them so I thought good, the birds get something to eat and I'll get the ant population reduced for a couple of days. The more I watched the weirder it became. This is how the sunflower ended up:
In flocks of thirty or so the Goldfinches ate every leaf off those two sunflowers!! I had never seen behavior like this although I'm sure it is quite common. Steve said that he noticed the same thing happening in his yard. That is one of the advantages of having a backyard habitat, you get to see things you wouldn't notice in the wild.
The good news is that this picture was taken a couple of weeks after they ate the leaves off and you can see it didn't stop the sunflower from growing and blooming.