A male Horned Lark stood alert and vigilant on the city curb, horns raised and tail spread, his beak holding a tasty insect or two for his rapidly growing and hungry offspring.
So seeing the two birds, the female on the left and the male on the right was eye-catching. Their nest is right in the middle of the picture.
He didn't flinch when a horse-drawn buggy clacked by or when regular traffic zoomed through unaware of his presence.
I took a quick look at the nest when the parents flew off together in search of more food. The four young birds huddled close together under a dandelion plant extremely well camouflaged amongst the pebbles and plants on the ground.
Both birds returned with full beaks but I noticed Mom fed the babies far more often than Dad. After Dad had patrolled the curb, distracting others from the nest, he often ate the food he found himself.
I spent an enjoyable hour watching the birds. It is a good day when I find something new and learn the habits of a bird I seldom see around here.