Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Lark's Father's Day


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.


He and his mate chose this unlikely road island on a dead-end street for their ground nest. I drove by and noticed nothing interesting until I saw the adult birds nearby. I have never seen a Horned Lark here in the summer months as they usually move through on their way north in late winter.


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.


I pulled off the road and watched from my car. In a few minutes, Mother Lark hopped discreetly to the nest with a mouthful of insects for her young hatchlings. Dad watched from the curb looking at crows, cyclists, joggers, a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds and me.


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.

8 comments:

  1. I would say,that is a special find. You got great pictures of the birds and the feeding.

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  2. A magical opportunity.

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  3. What an odd place for a nest, but it seems to be working.

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  4. Poor dad must've expended all his calories keeping watch!
    What fun to find a nest in such an unexpected place. They certainly are well camouflaged.

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  5. Fascinating--and a bird I know I have never seen. An very catchy look with those "horns."

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  6. I've never seen one Ruth, so that was quite a treat!

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  7. Very cool to be this close to the circle of life. Finding a nest of Horned Larks is quite a treat. Thanks for sharing this.

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