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birds eating sedum

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From: Helene Heldorfer
Joliet, IL
I have several "Autumn Joy" sedum plants in my garden. For the past several years, I have noticed that birds (I believe they are finches) perch on them and eat the leaves. This occurs from the time the plants have reached their full size through the fall, but the birds don't seem interested in the flowers or seeds. The leaves look a little tattered, but the birds don't really harm the plants. I'm just wondering why they do this.

Extension Message
From: Sandra Mason
State Master Gardener Coordinator
Champaign/Ford/Iroquois/Vermilion Unit
Helene, this is a new one for me. I wonder if they are going after insects on the leaves. might want to check with a local Audubon Soc. Sandy

From: Dancing WithPorcupines
Decatur, IL
My Fiches are eating my Almond Joy Sedum leaves. I think they are after the moisture is the leaves. The damage is on the edges of the leaves.

I wonder if there's a way to discourage this behavior. The is a bird with 15 feet of the plats.

From: Babs K
I agree with the poster saying they are after the moisture. They leaves might taste good also. I've seen various birds, including finches, drink from my hummingbird feeders. Sadly, the first year I noticed my sedum looking bedraggled I sprayed them for bugs. I felt so bad afterwards when I saw that it was the birds, not bugs. Your plants will come back. They won't harm it. Just enjoy them. I call it my bird bush.

From: LiliRoze G
New Castle, DE
Not sure when this original thread began, but I have noticed birds perching in my sedum early in the morning and after rain or watering. I realized they are drinking the water that gathers in the sturdy, cupped leaves. I love it. So far they haven't tattered the edges, but I agree with Babs K -- enjoy them, it's nature!

They are finch sized birds but do not look like my normal finches. These little birds are darker gray and have red on them. They arrived after the rain so that seems to fit. There were two of them that arrived together ... stayed for a couple of minutes and left together.

From: yomammadotcom@gmail.com Sechrest
Belleville, IL
I have house finches eating my sedum. At first I thought they were eating the flower buds. Then, I saw the bites out of the leaves. The house finch is a little gray/brown bird. The male has a pretty red head and chest. Some people don't like this bird. I enjoy them! I think they are lovely and they have a very pretty song.

From: C. Holy
Brookings, SD
Just witnessed 2 house finches eating my Autumn Joy sedum! Now I know why the leaves looked as if they had been eaten by some insect! Have see the leaves looking like this for several years and the plants remain very healthy so it is no problem at all. Mystery solved. If I had not gone over to the window and persisted in trying to finc out where the bird noise was coming from, I would have missed the whole thing. :-)

From: C. T.
Peoria, IL
I received an Autumn Joy Seedum from my sister in 2021 and planted it and it bloomed and everything.

This year (2022) I have been putting safflower seed in my bird feeder, which actually deter the squirrels! Don't get me wrong, I love squirrels but not happy when they eat all my expensive no-waste bird seed.

Anyway, also, last year I received a concrete bird bath, which excited me.

As soon as I switched the food out this year, I started getting all kinds of house finches! Beautiful little guys. Anyway, as Spring hit and the seedum started growing, I would notice bites in my seedum and finally caught the culprits. It's only the house finches who are doing this.

The feeding station is literally outside my living room window and my loveseat is perpendicular to it, so I can see hummingbird feeder, seed feeder and bird bath, oh and the seedum very clearly.

They eat plenty of safflower, drink plenty of water and bath plenty. I promise you it has nothing to do with the moisture and as ravenously as they take nips out of the leaves, I can guarantee you, they are loving the taste. I haven't seen any other species doing this.

It's okay but disappointing at the same time. I am not going to worry about deterring them, as it's obvious they love it. just hope the plant can live to grow up! LOL

From: Margaret Smith
Richmond, VA
Sedum will recover and flower normally. The finches must love the taste. They eat pieces of leaves from Autumn Joy sedum all over my yard, but prefer to strip the leaves on one particular plant that is more shaded than the rest. They have plenty of access to flowers, bug, seed, and water nearby.

After watching this happen for three successive years, I am convinced it is not for moisture, but for taste.

After the newest vegetation is gone, they stop around July. Then new leaves appear, and they don’t bother them.

From: Kate G
Newark , DE
I wish that I could post a picture to show you how those cute finches have devastated my sedum. I divide the plants & try to hide them in different spots around the yard. Three of the new plants have been eaten to the ground. I love the finches & they build nests in a pine cone wreath on my garage. This year they had 2 broods & I’m guessing that the 8 fledglings are the culprits who are enjoying my sedum.

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