Backyard Wildlife Color of the Week: RED

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.”
-Bill Blass

Each week during Garden for Wildlife Month, we will be featuring backyard flora and fauna of a particular color.  This week we are focused on red, a color associated with dominance in a number of animal species. Does your backyard play host to any of the following species?

These photos were donated by past participants in the National Wildlife® Photo Contest. To enter your photos in this year’s contest, visit the contest site.

Source of bird facts: Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds

Scarlet Tanager

A striking black-winged red bird, the Scarlet Tanager is a common species of the eastern forest interior. Despite its brilliant coloring it is often overlooked because of its rather secretive behavior and its preference for the forest canopy. (Photo: Daniel Marquis)


Ladybugs are favored by farmers as voracious pest-eaters. By the end of its three-to-six-week life, a ladybug may eat 5,000 plant-eating insects. (Photo: David Bahr)

 House Finch

The red of a male House Finch comes from pigments contained in its food during molt. So the more pigment in the food, the redder the male. Females prefer to mate with the reddest male they can find, perhaps raising the chances they get a capable mate who can do his part in feeding the nestlings. (Photo: Gregory Fisher)

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. They dig characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half. (Photo: Hal and Kirstin Snyder)

Red Spotted Newt

The strikingly colored juvenile stage (terrestrial) of the Red Spotted Newt is followed by the olive-green colored adult stage (aquatic). They have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and may grow to 5 inches in length. (Photo: John Kornet)

Cardinal Flower

Although relatively common, overpicking this handsome wildflower has resulted in its scarcity in some areas. Since most insects find it difficult to navigate the long tubular flowers, Cardinal Flower depends on hummingbirds, which feed on the nectar, for pollination. (Photo: Paul Lackey)


A distinctive songbird of arid scrublands, the Pyrrhuloxia lives in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It superficially resembles its close relative, the Northern Cardinal. Foraging winter flocks of Pyrrhuloxias may number as many as 1,000 birds. (Photo: Daniel Ruf)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak participates in incubation of the eggs, accounting for about 1/3 of the time during the day (the female incubates over night). Both sexes sing quietly to each other when they exchange places. (Photo: Lori Deiter)

Northern Cardinal

Only a few female North American songbirds sing, but the female Northern Cardinal does, and often while sitting on the nest. This may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. Cardinals don’t migrate or molt into a dull plumage. (Photo: Stan Lewis)

Certify Your Garden as a Wildlife HabitatCreate a haven for birds and other critters in your own backyard and have it designated as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat site. Certify in the month of May and we’ll plant a tree in your honor!>>