Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Yellow has always been a favorite color of mine, especially in flowers and birds. After a long winter of grays and whites, it brings a lift to the spirit.

Yellow-Belly Sapsucker
Funny how such a cheerful color also has negative connotations, but it does. The color yellow has traditionally been associated with cowardice, treachery, inconstancy and jealousy. Interesting that in France, the doors of traitors’ homes were daubed with yellow. It’s also been used as an insult or challenge. “What are you, yellow bellied?”   I’ve even heard the term, “you yellow-bellied sapsucker!” That term originally applied to birds that literally have a yellow belly, like the yellow-bellied sapsucker. Later came to mean a term for a low down coward. Poor maligned bird.  
We do have Yellow-Belly Sapsuckers in Missouri and they forage on trees in forests, orchards, and parks for insects and they also eat fruits, nuts, and berries. Sapsuckers are woodpeckers that drill small, closely spaced holes in trees to reach the sap and insects drawn to the sap. They aren’t bright yellow on the bellies but more of a light yellow wash.

American Golden Finches Male and female at the feeder
Missouri, like many other places, do have bright yellow Goldfinches. We do have them year round although there is an influx of them in March and April.  I smile every time I see them in the trees or at the feeders and they’re like flying yellow flowers. Goldfinches pair up and begin nesting in July and August when the soft milkweed and thistles begin to bloom. They like to use thistle silk for their nests. I keep a feeder with thistle and other goodies for the finches.  I love the contrast of seeing the yellow finches and red cardinals at the feeders.

We also have Eastern Meadowlarks. Very unassuming colored bird and blend right into brown underbrush. In the winter they're much easier to spot against the snow. Like the sapsucker, they’re not obviously yellow, just their bellies.  They’re here year round and I actually see them more in winter as they forage in the fields but I hear them singing throughout the warm season.

Another bright yellow bird that I first mistook for a Golden finch, until I got a closer look, is the Prothonotary Warbler. It’s named after the Roman Catholic clerks who wore yellow robes. They tend to forage for insects in fallen trees or dead standing trees and can be found near water. We have a pond across the county road from the front yard and we have a stream that’s shaped like a giant U around the back of our property. They’re year round residents but, like the Goldenfinches, the rest show up in Missouri in April and begin nesting.

Missouri has lots of yellow wildflowers to delight the senses. They’re common sights along roadways and in fields. I have many, many wildflowers growing in the fields and love my walking track that brings me up close to so many. It makes walking a joy.

Yellow Rocket Flower
Yellow Cone-flower, aka Echinea

Finch among the Tickseed Sunflowers
Common Mulleien

Although Missouri has many outstanding features to see and experience, for me, it’s the beauty that surrounds my house on any given day. The animals, birds, and flowers. I love how the birdsong fills the air, the gossip at the bird feeders, the cry of an eagle, the fuzz of yellow-green oaks covering the hills in the spring amid the carpet of wildflowers. It’s a wonderful place to be.

There are so many beautiful places in this world and I hope you've enjoyed a view of my corner of it, here, in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. 

Alley Springs Mill and wildflowers

Photos: Missouri conservation, Missouri field guide to flowers, and personal


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cool old mill.
Warbler. Just a funny word.

Mark Koopmans said...

So funny that I was wondering *what* negative things could be associated with yellow... until I read further and of course, the whole yellow-bellied thing.

It remains, however, one of my favorite colors :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

There's nothing quite like the colour yellow in nature. Some of those birds are so vibrant.

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

Wendy said...

I love to attract goldfinches to my bird feeders. So sweet. The yellow cone flowers seem so exotic -- I am used to seeing purple ones.
~Repaying the visit from AtoZ

Jo said...

We used to get a family of Prothonotarys nesting in our yard in NC until one year the male was attacked by an Eastern Bluebird. They had a punch up and we never saw the Prothonotary again, we were very sorry. We did get the Bluebirds a lot though as well as Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers. I used to have a list of all the birds we saw in our yard and it was a long one. Used to get that large woodpecker too but the name has escaped me for the moment. Huge bird on the endangered list. Pileated, just googled. Here we rarely see much although we do hear them. We put feeders on our balcony when we first came but were told to take them down.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Those are beautiful views. We always have a lot of goldfinches in our backyard. I've never seen yellow coneflowers, only the pick ones. I want some.

~Sia McKye~ said...

ALEX--it is a funny sounding word but Warblers are pretty and come in many colors. Yes, the mill is a cool place to visit.

MARK--I was surprised to find it used in France for Traitors.

ANNALISA--I agree on the color yellow in nature. We have a lot of vibrant colored birds.

WENDY--Cone Flowers come in several colors altho lavendar and purple are most common. :-)

JO--What a tussle. We have bluebirds too. I love them but not as much if they chased off my prthhonotaries off. We have Pilated and red headed woodpeckers which are huge. I have a few of those nesting nearby.

SUSAN--I do have some lovely views here on the ranch. when I first saw the yellow coneflowers I thought they were black eyed susans but that cone is distinctive. They were growing wild too, somewhat dismaying as I had just finish buying some of the standard coneflowers for a spot in the yard and here were all those wild ones...

Jennifer Hawes said...

I love seeing the goldfinches in my backyard. They do seem to be more present right now! :)

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Me too!!! Love yellow. When the fields here light up with yellow flowers, I want to roll in them. I don't, but I want to.

~Sia McKye~ said...

JENNIFER--I love them, too. In fact, I love seeing all the birds flying into the feeders. It's a joyful lift to the spirit to see them all.

THERESA--I hear you on that. Right now, too damn ticks out there to go lay in the fields, lol! I use OFF and walk my track through the fields. I enjoy that.

Misha Gerrick said...

The bird pictures are stunning. I don't think we really have birds like that in South Africa. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

MISHA--probably not but you do have some pretty colorful birds there, as well. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia - loved seeing your world ..the Ozarks and the lands around your home. I agree home is where the heart is .. and where you can see and appreciate all the flora and fauna as it comes and goes ... wonderful place to live - no wonder you obviously love it so much.

Thoroughly enjoyed these A- Z posts .. cheers Hilary said...