I mentioned I was dead-heading the butterfly bushes to produce a bunch more flowers for the butterflies. That's a good thing because buddelias, butterfly bushes, can be invasive if you let them seed. I am very careful not to allow invasive plant seeds get too far away, so I don't like birds eating them and carrying them off.
Other than the invasives, I leave my dead flowers go to seed for the finches and sparrows. The American Goldfinches especially love to hang from the many varieties of salvias we have. The deer don't like them so we enjoy planting them. Here's a photo of American Goldfinches on our salvias eating seeds.
You have to consider what's the best use for the particular plant. Dead-heading will produce more blooms for the hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and all, but when it's coming to the end of the season for one of your plants, let it seed so you can feed the birds.
We have 9 feeders in our yard right now, but like us, the birds need a variety of nutrition and different seeds provide that variety of nutrients like different nuts can provide for us. You can't just think about "pretty" when it comes to flowers that are past their blooming cycle. After they've produced the seeds, we need to let the birds have them.
I enjoy having the opportunity to talk about it as people drop by ... since so many people have been "trained" to dead-head and don't think of any reason not to do so. How delighted there are to know that they can save the work, tell others about bird feeding, and have a show to enjoy as the birds feast in their yard.
Our green-headed coneflowers are just beginning to bloom. They are right up against our front porch and I love to see the goldfinches gather for their feast so close to the windows. What they drop to the ground, the sparrows eat. It's such a joy to know that even after my plants finish blooming, they provide life and enjoyment to the birds of the air. After all .... what did I plant them for anyway? Here's a photo of the goldfinches on our coneflowers.
Here's a great article to get lots of tips:
Autumn Cleanup in the Wildlife Garden