Wildlife Lesson-Orange Pride


“Birds are flying over the garden. What are you doing inside the house? Join them! If you can’t join them, at least open the window and greet them!”
Mehmet Murat ildan 



On March 20th spring crawled in even though we had cold air and snow covering the garden.  But it was the signs that nature brings, that really heralded DSCN7229the new season was indeed upon us.  The red-winged blackbirds had arrived a few days before….and the deer, who were about and feeding on shrubs, were already losing their winter coats.



And I knew that eventually the warm winds would blow again and melt the foot of snow remaining (we are still waiting for the melt).  So it was time to get ready for other critters we knew would be returning.  I usually put out the hummingbird feeder in late-April as scouts can be out and about.  And right on the hummingbird’s tail feathers, is the arrival of other birds.




One of my favorite birds, returning north anytime between later April and early May, is the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula).  I adore their bright colors, a welcome sight, just as the trees are leafing out so I can still watch them easily.




Last year, they announced themselves with their wonderful song and by hanging on the two hummingbird feeders we had out (see photo at the top of the post).  I had not seen too many of these beauties before in my garden except when one or two would take a quick bath in the pond.




other birds on feeder

But last year, there were several hanging around the hummer feeder trying to get at the tasty liquid.  So I quickly purchased a ‘cadillac’ oriole feeder.  Orange in color with lots of spots for drinking sweetened liquid, eating orange pieces or partaking of grape jelly.  It was a big hit with the orioles and hummers, and other birds who learned how to get to the sweetened water like the catbirds, downy woodpeckers and house sparrows (top left to bottom right).



DSCN7155Last year at the crack of dawn, the orioles would wake me as they ate and sang at their feeder which was right under my bedroom window.   Such a wonderful array of bright warm colors against the early morning sun.  They are a perfect symbol of summer as the color orange represents warmth and heat.




I have never spotted an oriole nest in my garden, but they do build their nests in the “wild area” woods behind us.  It is an unusual sight to see this basket of grasses hanging from slim fibers on a tree branch.



And once the babies fledge, the orioles are gone as quickly as they came.  But their short time in my garden gives me much pride; which is another word for happiness.



oriole collage
Top 2 are males; bottom left is  female and bottom right is fledgling


Here are some interesting facts about Baltimore Orioles:

  • They got their name because their orange and black colors are the same as the heraldic crest of the Baltimore family of England.
  • It is said, Baltimore Orioles prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit, and will ignore ripe green and yellow fruits.  Ours loved the dark grape jelly, but did not like the oranges we put out.
  • Young male Baltimore Orioles do not get their bright-orange adult feathers until their second year. They are very similar in appearance to younger females.
  • Females become a brighter orange as they molt, and almost resemble bright orange males once they are older.
  • Baltimore Orioles can stab soft fruits, and drink the liquid with their tongues.




With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.






I leave you with another thought about birds.  Feel free to download this photo and share.


All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Sky Painting




Sky Painting


 Splashes of paint on a cloudy morn

Carried like fire, the sky adorned.


Deep purple hues, bright orange splashes

Undulating hints of gray dots and dashes.


Then spread across the deep bright blue

Pictures forming, ever shifting anew.


Now marshmallow fluff, mountains in the sky

Clouds collide painting pictures, rolling by.


The sun creates the palette, the wind is the painter

Seeking new canvas as soon or later,


A new scene emerges with each breath I’m taking

Behold nature’s finest; look the sky is painting.


© Donna Donabella 2014


This poem was created as we were SOARing through the sky at 35,000 feet.  I am always mesmerized by the clouds from high in the sky as well as when the sunrises.  Actually I find the sky paints the clouds best during sunrise.


And given that my new word for the year is SOAR, this poem is the perfect complement. You can read about my word of the year as it will be my guiding force this new year!


I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

sky painting



I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  


fiery clouds

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others.  I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs.  I hope to more overtly spread some blog love through both my blogs in the future. 




Special Note:  The pictures here are from recent sunrises where I watched the sun paint the clouds and sky.



I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about clouds and light.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.



All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Creative Challenges


“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein


This week’s photo challenge was indeed a creative endeavor with words like orange, three and reflection.  For the most part, I take photos of my garden and the critters that visit.  But for this challenge, I needed to branch out a bit and find some different subjects.


The words for this week could easily be found in the garden, and I did take many pictures there as you will see.  But I wanted to stretch my legs so I started looking for subjects inside too.  And I also wanted to use more of the features of iPhoto to enhance the photos with different adjustments and effects.


So I hope you enjoy the photos this week.  I am still learning about photography, but I am also channeling my creative side.  You will notice that many of the photos overlap in theme between the words.  This was not intentional and I only noticed it when I was picking photos for the post.





I set up this photo just on the edge of the patio. I liked the effect of the orange candle.





The orange cone of echinacea.





My orange begonia on the front porch.





I liked how the orange utensil stood out.





This pitcher was to be for the word orange, but I found it had a great double reflection too.





Three was a challenge but I looked for things inside that would be interesting together.  These objects are on the fireplace mantel.





Pam@Pam’s English Garden told me about this book.  It just arrived in the mail, and I thought the three recently harvested heads of garlic would look great with it.





I loved the look of the three viburnum berries…the birds are devouring them quickly.





This crystal hangs in a northeast facing window and it captures the sunlight every morning.  I loved the reflection it made, and realized it also showed a three.


I hope you enjoyed some of these photos.  The photo at the beginning of the post shows three of the blue glass objects on our china cabinet, but if you look closely you will see some interesting reflections.  One is of me taking the picture!



I leave you with another shot of orange from my garden with some thoughts about creativity.  Feel free to download the photo and share….


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.