Red


For red, we have to go further afield than Camas Prairie. For red, we’ll go (mostly) to Alaska. And use a pretty broad definition of “red.”

The million-acre fires in the boreal forest in 2004 and 2006, between the Tanana River and the foothills of the Brooks Range, killed uncounted millions of Black Spruce. But the next year, in July, fireweed, a kind of pale reflection of the flames, dominated the landscape, covering hundreds of square miles. These:

Fireweed, Fairbanks

Fireweed, Fairbanks

Make up this:

Fireweed, Dalton Highway, Alaska

Fireweed, Dalton Highway, Alaska

But Alaska offers red birds, too, although none of them match some of the tropical birds. Certainly the Pine Grosbeak qualifies as an Alaska red bird:

Pine Grosbeak, Fairbanks

Pine Grosbeak, Fairbanks

And certainly the Common Redpoll makes the list:

Common Redpoll, Fairbanks

Common Redpoll, Fairbanks

In the Lower 48, one of the reddest birds has to be the Summer Tanager.

Summer Tanager, High Island, Texas

Summer Tanager, High Island, Texas

And as long as we are wandering afield, let’s not forget the eye-watering reds of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, which can sear your eyeballs when viewed through binoculars in bright light.

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Ecuador

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Ecuador

If you know of a bird that’s more electric red than this, WC looks forward to hearing from you.

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