Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

Wildlife Lesson-As Spring Unfolds


“One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us.”

~Black Elk




As spring warms up, the birds come flocking to our garden.  Many have visited before, and return to find feeders, nesting areas or boxes, and a habitat in which to raise their young.  Chemical free with lots of plant debris.  And water….a nice pond to drink from or bathe in.  More on the pond in another Wildlife post in the months ahead.



And each critter who wakes or visits, teaches us lessons in how they live, cohabitate and survive.  So here are some of the mid to late spring visitors to our garden.




Squirrels naturally assume that wherever they are, is the place to be.  We have found many black walnuts in and around the garden; some eaten, some forgotten.  The squirrels love to play around and explore every nook and cranny of the garden, high and low.  I can tell you this favorite perch on the wren house had to be vacated once the wrens were back.




baby bunny collage

And what a surprise to see this baby bunny just out of the nest.  In March, we saw a pregnant female near the big ash trees in the center of the garden.  I could not find the nest, but eventually, once they left, I saw the small opening.  It is not uncommon to have a nest in our garden each year, but this year they nested early because of the very warm March weather.


This little babe was hiding in the middle of a bunch of daffs absolutely still (see last photo at end of post).  I almost didn’t see it.  It eventually moved more to the edge of the daffs the next day, and then it was gone.  We see a small bunny around our neighbor’s shed so perhaps we will see her in our garden eating the clover that is flowering.




bee collage

Pollinators were cautious of the warm March weather, and were slow to emerge in April.  But once they did, they were busy making nests in the bee house we have.  I am not good at identifying bees, but these are small solitary bees.




frog collage

The pond also awoke cautiously in later April.  Frogs…..





and toads.  This is a female toad laying eggs for the first time in the pond.  I’ll have their story for you this summer.  And I’ll show you the pond project that has been a roaring success for the critters.





Pileated woodpeckers live here year round, or so it seems.  They have been busy in the garden since February, digging holes and getting the insects that have been living in trees and stumps..  This female visits often.  I plan to have a post about these majestic creatures this fall.




finches collage

Finches live here all year round too.  They eat the dandelion seeds, in spring, that are all over the back lawn…which is mostly dandelions and clover.  The Goldfinch looks very happy, and the House Finch looks like he got caught in the act.





Red-wing blackbirds came early with the robins this year.  They returned to their territory and nesting areas, and many visited the suet feeders, especially this March and April as the cool weather kept their insect diet at bay.





Other familiar year round faces are the Cardinals, here, and the Song Sparrow in the picture at the top of the post.  Cardinals sing all year round too.  It is a beautiful song.





But as May dawns, I look for two migratory birds to return to the garden….the Baltimore Oriole….





….and the Ruby-throated hummingbirds.  We put up feeders, for both birds, but more birds prefer the Oriole feeder, even the hummer above.  Both birds arrived a day apart in the evening, and were exhausted taking long drinks and resting on the feeder.





Our oriole feeder holds sweetened water, and cups for grape jelly.  And as we were refilling the jelly, the Orioles couldn’t wait to partake… can see we didn’t even have to hang the feeder.




oriole feeder collage

And Orioles (left and top right) are not the only ones who love the sweetened water and jelly.  Downy Woodpeckers (center right) visit frequently, along with Catbirds (lower right), Sparrows and a newcomer to the garden…..





…Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  A stunning bird isn’t it.




wren collage

I wasn’t sure the Wrens would return.  I heard their jolly, bright song for weeks and finally they were ready to nest.  It is fascinating to watch them carefully make a nest of small sticks….turning the sticks in their beaks and handing them off to their partner in the box.




waxwing collage

And last but not least, the Cedar Waxwings returned in late May right around my birthday.  Always the best present!



I am struck by the spring lessons of caution and focus as I observed, looking back at our visiting and year round critters.  Pollinators and pond critters took their time not being lured out of hibernation too soon.  And I was cautious too as I observed an early spring that turned back to winter.  And those critters that came too early, weathered the storm and showed me such resilience.


Once the critters arrived for spring, they were focused on their chores of finding food, and procreating.  I too was very focused with garden chores this spring.  And we will see the fruit of their labors soon enough with baby frogs and baby birds being added to the garden habitat.  I hope to see the fruits of my labors as well as the garden season progresses.


I am sharing these lessons with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.



So there you have some of our mid to late spring visitors.  I have at least two more spring stories coming in the next two months….both about the pond.  What critters are showing up in your garden this spring?



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 am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.  Please check out all these great blogs.




I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learn from looking deep into nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

look nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

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  1. Elena Caravela Elena Caravela
    June 2, 2016    

    Exciting! You have birds that don’t frequent my feeder, and they are lovely. Great pics!

    • June 2, 2016    

      Thanks Elena…I have suet and sweetened water feeders….amazing how they draw in so many critters.

  2. Sue Sue
    June 2, 2016    

    I loved looking at all your wonderful photos. You have so many different types of birds than we have here in Australia. I am so envious that you have visits from hummingbirds, wow! And I love the cute squirrel. 🙂

    • June 2, 2016    

      Thanks Sue…and I barely see all that are around….but many more since creating a habitat here. The hummers are a highlight. They will stay until September.

  3. June 2, 2016    

    Hey, of course us Wrens know a great place to live when we spot one – a nice home, chemical free food, fresh water, a Squirrel that knows his place and has moved on! What a great post, I’m happy too to see your Wrens back 🙂
    Wren x

    • June 2, 2016    

      And I love having another beautiful Wren visiting too! 🙂

      So happy you enjoyed the post!

  4. June 2, 2016    

    A great show of wildlife, Donna–you’re so fortunate, though I know you’ve planned for them by gardening appropriately and assuring many places of cover, food and water. Your bird show is especially impressive–such a variety. I’ve never seen Orioles, but I know they pass through Texas in spring and fall. Thanks so much for this great post and for participating in Wildlife Wednesday.

    • June 2, 2016    

      And thank you Tina for hosting….I do so enjoy seeing the wildlife from around the world. Glad you enjoyed the post and especially the Oriole.

  5. June 2, 2016    

    Your garden is a bird paradise. I’m not sure I’d get much done here if we had that many interesting and beautiful birds. And that bunny—so adorable!

    • June 2, 2016    

      I love baby bunnies…and I don’t get much done. When I take breaks indoors from the gardening, I tend to extend the time as I watch the critters. They make my life so light and happy!

  6. June 2, 2016    

    Oh, these are gorgeous!

  7. June 2, 2016    

    The ‘small things’ are HUGE in my head and heart. And how I love the visitors who grace your garden.

    • June 2, 2016    

      I am so glad you enjoy are visitors as much as we do Soosie!

  8. June 2, 2016    

    My wonderful Donna,
    you’re surrounded by such a glorious wildlife, I’m sure that your heart beats faster when you look at such wonders, I know what you feel, my lovely friend, we also are blessed by such Gifts filling our days and our heart with a so deep joy that cannot be expressed by words !

    Hope you’re having a beautiful week, I’m sending my dearest love to you,
    with so much thankfulness


    • June 2, 2016    

      Indeed these gifts are so special Dany, and bring such joy! I am so glad you are enjoying them too! Have a lovely week….

  9. June 2, 2016    

    Oh, you have Pileateds year-round! That would be wonderful! Most of the other birds are common ones here, too. How cute that you could barely get the feeders out before the Orioles grabbed the jelly and nectar! That last photo of the bunny is priceless! Thanks for joining in the meme. 🙂

  10. June 3, 2016    

    Oh my…. You have

  11. June 4, 2016    

    Our red-wings are starlings. Living between the mountain slopes and gardens.

    • June 5, 2016    

      Diana what a stunning bird….and they picked a perfect spot to live!

  12. June 4, 2016    

    Hello, What a great critter post. They are all happy to live in your yard, a great habitat for the birds and wildlife. Wonderful post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  13. June 5, 2016    

    Beautiful photos, and I also love the quotations! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. 🙂

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