My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Lemon Drops"

Spring has definitely (and finally) sprung around here. Do you remember the little ditty called "Spring in the Bronx" that begins, "Spring is sprung, da grass is ris, I wonder where da boidies is?" Well, I did a "boid" roll call recently. As you know if you follow this blog, the bluebirds showed up already, as have the robins, Western Meadowlarks and barn swallows. The first Broadtail hummingbird made his appearance on May 17th (joined quickly by his friends, so we're already on our second batch of nectar!), and so did the Rufous-sided Towhee at about the same time.

But for the past week or so I've been waiting and watching for one of my favorite birds - the American Goldfinch - to make his first appearance in his bright yellow springtime plumage...

And yesterday he finally did!

Goldfinches are here year round but in smaller numbers, and the males are hard to identify in their fall and winter colors, which are drab and can make them a bit hard to tell apart from the Pine Siskins. I always eagerly await their brilliant transformation into what I call "my little lemon drops!" I just adore them, and not only because we have something significant in common! According to Cornell University's Ornithology Department's web site, "Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect." :-) I also love them because they are such cheery birds, and so beautiful... but quite shy. I have taken many photos of them, but all from a distance with my feeble zoom and they don't show up very well on this blog. I gathered some of my favorites and cropped them so you can see the star attraction better! :-)

Male goldfinches remind me of someone's escaped canary.
No wonder another name for them is "wild canary!"

I think he knows how handsome he is, like a little sunbeam!

Given my love of these sweet little yellow birds, you might imagine how excited I was to find this birdbath for sale at my local greenhouse last summer!

They only had the one, and I was so tempted... I wanted it bad. But I thought it was too expensive, so I ignored that little voice in my head that said, "But you neeeeeed it." :-) I went to the greenhouse frequently and every time, to my surprise, that birdbath was still there, still tempting but still too costly.

But at the end of the summer they had a storewide sale. I was sure there was no way that birdbath would still be there, so imagine my delight to find it waiting for me at 30% off! It was a progressive sale with greater markdowns every day, but there was no need to be greedy and have my luck run out so I brought that baby home that day! I put it away for the winter and could hardly wait to be able to put it back outside again, which I did last weekend ~ maybe it's what inspired the goldfinches to change into their summer attire! :-)

All the birds love it, and it makes me smile whenever I fill or walk past it.

Here's one more dose of cheery yellow for you to start off your week. My friend Sue has shared some fun blog posts where each day she focuses on a certain color, looks for that color in unusual places, and shares photos of what she found on her blog that day. (My favorite so far is her green Friday post). What a fun exercise in mindful awareness! When I know what the color is that day, I find myself paying much more attention to the colors around me. Today isn't a yellow day on Sue's blog, but since this post is honoring yellow birds I thought I'd throw in this photo of a matching, flawless yellow rose that I took on a visit to the Luther Burbank rose garden in (appropriately) Santa Rosa, California in Oct 2007. (Oh to have blooming roses... in October, no less!)

Wishing you a bright and cheerful day of sunbeams and lemon drops!

(P.S. I have several posts partially done and waiting to be finished, as well as plans for others, but for a while yet, at least, my blogging will continue to be sparse and my comment replies may be tardy. I have a lot of "stuff" going on offline these days. But I'll do my best, and I thank you for being patient with me!)


  1. I can't believe how yellow those little guys are. They are almost neon yellow. The birds are out here too and are constantly singing. However we have had so much rain I am not seeing them, just hearing them. Thanks for sharing your pictures. :-)

    Great score on the birdbath. It is really cute, I know why you NEEDED it. LOL


  2. Ali - I know, they're so bright they look like they'd glow in the dark!

    We've been having quite a bit of rain lately too, so I'm hearing more birds than I'm seeing, but the feeders have been doing a robust business (and even the birdbaths have had a lot of visitors!)

    I'm glad you like my birdbath, and thanks for understanding my neeeeeed of it! LOL!

  3. Isn't waking up to birdsong one of the best things? Your gold finch friend is very beautiful indeed...I love it that he's strict vegetarian and quite shy...I can relate. You did a great job with the photos.

    Around here, the Black-capped Chickadees are king. Also have quite a few Dark-eyed Juncos...seems like more-so in the winter...and I adore the Northern Flickers...also the Stellar Jays. We get the Anna's Hummingbird here...actually they have become accustomed to wintering here, so they'rw around all year long...I was so excited the day that I learned to identify their song.

    The color-themed blog posts are a wonderful creative. It is an exercise in mindfulness...I liked the Green Friday post...thanks for another cool heads-up. I definitely think you got yellow covered in this post.

    Now, I'm off to find me a pair of those hummingbird feeder earings!

  4. Hey Tex-
    Thanks for the shout out for my colors. I love your birdbath....yes you definitely neeeeeeeeeeeed it, even if it wasn't 30% off. And nice yellow my friend. I didn't even think of photographing anything like a bird. You're one up on me...again.
    I did spy a stunning birdbath in a store window today....$69, please and no thank you.
    Happy spring.

  5. Beautiful photos! There was a male finch in our backyard a few days ago, too. They're so gorgeous! I adore the birdbath & what luck that you got it at a markdown!

  6. What happy splash of yellow to start out the dreary Monday here! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Rose ~ Absolutely, I love waking up to the sound of birds singing! Great start to any day.

    You have hummingbirds all year? How fun is that?! I don't think I've ever seen an Anna's Hummingbird anywhere but in my bird book (I'm impressed that you learned to ID their song!), and we don't get Stellar Jays here, either. I love the little Juncos, we have lots of them during the winter. Love their little fat Buddha bellies! :-) I imagine living among all those tall fir trees is Heaven to a Chickadee! No wonder they're the kings of King County! :-) We have Mountain Chickadees here at our house all year, and Chickadee-dee-dees are among my favorites.:-)

    I'm happy you enjoyed Sue's creative color posts! I thought that was a fun idea and she does a great job with it.

    You will look just stunning in your new hummingbird feeder earrings, m'dear. ;-)

    Sue ~ Giving your blog and especially your color-themed posts a shout-out was my pleasure. :-) You probably would have thought of a bird for one of your colors eventually, you just need to spot the right one!

    I'm glad you also recognize my "need" for that bird bath! So... what color was the $69 one in the window? Might we see it down the line in one of your posts? I know what you mean about birdbath prices... our greenhouse has some that are in the $200-$300 range! Ouch. My little yellow one wasn't that bad... just $30 at full price. I normally buy those large saucers for big ceramic planters and set them on the ground for my birdbaths. They're relatively inexpensive, the birds like them, and the bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks can drink from them too.

    Molly ~ Thanks! Aren't they just the prettiest? So eye-catching in their Day-Glo outfits! I'm so glad you like my sweet birdbath too! (It was made in Viet Nam, which I thought was interesting. ~ bet they have some brightly colored birds in that part of the world!)

    VW ~ You're so welcome, and it's good to see you! I'm glad the splash of yellow brightened your Monday. It's dreary here, too... raining, chilly and foggy... with talk of snow developing that I refuse to listen to! (But my birdbath is inside with me, just in case!)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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