Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Horned Lark

My blog entries may appear to be random.  In fact, the subjects are usually inspired by my most recent encounters with wildlife.  This note is an exception--I took this photograph of a Horned Lark last May and have just returned to it this rainy Tuesday morning.  The Horned Lark is a common but often overlooked North American bird.  Horned Larks are thought to be monogamous, at least within a breeding season, although if a female loses her mate, an adjacent, but already mated, male may mate polygamously with her. (Beason, Robert C. 1995.  http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.bnaproxy.birds. cornell.edu/bna/species/195.)

When I lived in South Dakota, I figured the Horned Lark was perhaps our most common bird species.  It breeds commonly in the prairies, is an abundant migrant, and even survives the Dakota winters.  But much of northeast Minnesota's forests are inhospitable to larks. The honor of Most Common Bird Species in Minnesota, and in the United States as a whole, may go to the Red-winged Blackbird.  All the blackbirds need is a marshy wet area or weedy field (both of which can be scarce in western South Dakota).  Highway construction with roadside "borrow" pits has probably benefited Red-winged Blackbirds.

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