Q: I grew gerbera daisies this summer, but goldfinches pulled off the petals to get to the flowers’ centers. I tried caging the flowers with hardware cloth, which worked to deter the birds but didn’t look very pretty. Can you suggest a better deterrent I can use next year?
— Lucille Yoder, Hartville
A: Rhiannon Crain, leader of the YardMap citizen science project for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, suggested distracting the goldfinches by planting other flowers nearby that they love, such as sunflowers and coneflowers. They’re likely to leave your daisies alone if tastier seeds are available nearby. Putting up a goldfinch feeder is another strategy, said the lab’s media relations specialist, Pat Leonard. The birds will probably be more interested in a feeder stocked with fresh nyjer seed than in your flowers.
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