Among many aspects, colorful Colorado is known for its majestic Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and the incredible wildlife that inhabits each unique ecosystem. Sprinkled across the state, you’ll find everything from plants to mammals that are native to Colorado. Read on to find out which species you can see right in your own backyard.
Birds and Fish
Our native feathered friends — like the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch — prefer the western part of the state and can be found in the high mountains. Fans of bird feeders: Install one in your backyard to get an up-close look through gorgeous sliding glass doors in your Shea home. Colorado’s state bird — the lark bunting — migrates south in September and is attracted to water sources along their journey. Attract lark buntings into your yard by adding a bird bath or small pond — they’ll enjoy their rest while you enjoy their beautiful song!
Once on the verge of extinction due to competition with foreign species and pollution from gold mining, the state fish of Colorado — the greenback cutthroat trout — is still in need of protection. Officially designated the state fish in 1994, you can find them in the Arkansas and South Platte River drainages. Find out more about what’s being done to protect this precious species here.
Colorado’s most scenic areas are dotted with breathtaking plant life all year long. Near the Rocky foothills, piñon pine trees provide a gorgeous blanketing of green — you’ll notice them during your road trip as you travel west along I-70. Also towering above Colorado’s mountain roads, the blue spruce can reach heights from 70 to 115 feet! Smaller versions of the state tree can be purchased from your local nursery and planted in your yard for a classic Colorado look.
While you’re stretching your green thumb at home, the iconic Rocky Mountain Columbine — the state flower and widely-recognized symbol of Colorado — is a garden favorite. In a brand-new home, you’ll find customizable features like attractive covered patios that are perfect for columbines, as they thrive in partially-shady areas. Add personality, color, and curb appeal to your home by planting your favorite native foliage in your yard.
Some of the state’s largest mammals — like the Colorado bison — can reach heights over six feet and weigh up to 2,200 pounds. Once on the verge of extinction, thriving herds along I-70 at the Buffalo Herd Overlook are visible year-round. Another local giant, Rocky Mountain elk are among the most easily-viewed wildlife species in Colorado. With a population of over 280,000, head to Elk Fest — held annually in Estes Park — where you’ll be able to get close and hear them bugle while respecting their personal space.
Living higher in the mountains and deeper in the woods are black bears, mountain lions, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. These famous fuzzballs are synonymous with Colorado and are symbols of Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. For a thrilling weekend getaway, visit one of Colorado’s many national and state parks, where it’s possible to catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep as they clash their horns. Just a few hours from your home, connect with nature and get to know your native neighbors.
When you live in a Shea Homes community, you’ll enjoy optional features and modern architectural design that make your home feel as distinctive as the state of Colorado. Get close to your natural surroundings by viewing some of our most stunning wildlife. While you’re out there, stay safe and share your favorite wildlife snapshots with us on Instagram!