Bold and Bright: Nature Is Filled with Pride
An Open Spaces Blog

Rainbows, bison, shiny mussels and buntings oh my!  Explore 10 images across the natural world that demonstrate how colorful and wild nature can be.

Painted Buntings

Painted bunting at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo by Paul Golder (

Sporting some of the most vibrant colors of any North American bird, the male painted bunting soars out of the rainbow and into your heart. These majestic migratory birds can be found during breeding season in the Southeastern U.S. They winter in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Sometimes referred to by its French name, “nonpareil,” which translated means “without equal,” we’d like to imagine this term was coined by fictional fashionista Miranda Priestly herself. “That’s all.”

Northern Lights at Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges

Photo by Keith Ramos/USFWS

 “And they called her Aurora.” You don’t want to sleep past this natural beauty! 

The aurora borealis is known as the rainbow of the Arctic! Slay the sky down queen. 

Deer Fly

Photo by Anders Croft/USGS

This deer fly is runway ready with the hottest new trend in eyewear. What that? Those aren’t sunglasses? Those are the deer fly’s multi-colored compound eyes that set it apart from other flies? That’s cool.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Photo by Craig McIntyre (

 “Whistle while you WERK.” Black-bellied whistling ducks and national wildlife refuges sure know how to make an entrance. Especially, when their spotlights are rainbows. #lucky

Higgins Eye Pearly Mussel

Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS

Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In their lane. Focused. This Higgins eye pearly mussel is bringing the self-care energy we all need.

American Bison

 Photo by P. Eades

R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Did you know at the end of every rainbow is a bison asking you to “please stay at least 25 yards away from me.” Baby, we got it!

Kern Primrose Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Photo by T. W. Davies © California Academy of Sciences

Meet the sparkling Kern primrose sphinx moth caterpillar. When larvae are ready to pupate, they bury themselves underground 2 to 4 inches deep. Pupae are known to diapause (delay metamorphosis to adult form) underground for multiple years during drought periods. 

In other words, they’ll come out when the time is right. Get the party started!

Collared Lizards

Photo by Sean Peck (

Walk, walk fashion baby – or should we say run, run because collared lizards will steal the scene with their bipedal locomotion, a fancy word for their ability to run on their hindlegs. 

Candy Darter

 Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

Candy darters like their water fast, their colors bold, and their mates dancing like it’s the Saturday night Pride party on Christopher Street. It’s giving underwater rainbow perfection.

Green Sea Turtles

Green sea turtles, or honu, at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Photo by Dan Clark/USFWS

“We’re coming out, we want the world to know, got to let it show...”  that these are our nesting areas.

Beach bum by day and star gazers by night, these fabulous sea turtles and their hatchlings can be thrown off by human-caused light pollution, so be mindful and share the beach with respect.

When the tiny turtles hatch at night, they need to make it to the ocean water. In a natural dark sky setting, the light reflected off the water by the stars or moon attracts them. Artificial light can cause the teeny turtles to move in the wrong direction, with deadly consequences.

“Shine bright. Shine far. Be a star...” for wildlife by spreading the word about the benefits of dark skies and the dangers of artificial light to wildlife.

There you have it. Nature is loud and proud! We hope you feel inspired to show your true colors, live your truth to the fullest and connect with nature’s wild side. 🌈

Adventure awaits at your nearby national wildlife refuge or national fish hatchery. From wildlife observation and photography to hiking, boating, fishing and more – nature's never far!

Recreational Activities