About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Are Horned Larks Common in Mid-Michigan?

Hi, I was in the East Lansing location this afternoon and was trying to describe the new bird at my house. Hope these pictures can aid in his identify. Thanks for your help. I live in Charlotte.

The tinkling songs of the Horned Larks on the side of the road and fields are a sure sign that another spring has arrived. Horned Larks are among the earliest arrivals in our region, settling on the fields long before the snows are gone.

More information can be found at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Horned_Lark/lifehistory.

I'm so glad you took photos. Sarah

Do you really think it is a horned Lark? Are these common around here. Jean

These yellow-faced birds with black masks and collars are definitely Horned Larks. In the winter, the larks' “horns” aren't as noticeable.

In mid-Michigan it’s common to see large nomadic flocks forage for food together during the non-breeding season. Horned Larks often join mixed flocks of Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings, Dark-eyed Juncos, or American Pipits, too.

They feed on mostly seeds of grasses, weeds, and bird seed while walking and running on the ground. In the summer they feast on insects too.

The only true lark native to the New World, this is one of our earliest nesting birds. In some states, nests may be found in February. This can mean that the first set of eggs is often destroyed by snowstorms. It’s more common for them to begin breeding in June.

The males’ courtship can be very impressive. You’ll see him circling high above the ground singing. When the song ends he closes his wings and dives towards the ground. At the last second he opens his wings right before he would crash and pulls out of the dive.

Females build nests on the ground with dry grasses and plant fibers near stones or under small plants in open, sandy areas. Once mated, the female lays 3 to 4 glossy eggs that range from gray to greenish white with light brown spots. Incubation lasts 10 to 14 days and with the help of both parents, the chicks fledge in 9 to 12 days.

In Europe and Asia, where this species occurs from the Arctic south to north Africa, the Horned Lark is known as the Shore Lark.

Thank you for sharing. You've given us a very good bird of the week.

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1 comment:

Lori said...

I have a group of 11 horned larks that visit my feeder every day, feeding on the ground. I love to watch them walking around. I'm in the port huron area.