From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
Up with me! up with me into the clouds!
For thy song, Lark, is strong;
Up with me! Up with me into the clouds!
With clouds and sky about thee ringing.
Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind.
I have walked through wildernesses dreary,
And to-day my heart is weary;
Had I now the wings of a Fairy
Up to thee would I fly.
There is madness about thee, and joy divine
In that song of thine;
Lift me, guide me high and high
To thy banqueting place in the sky.
F the variety of names by which this Lark is known is any indication of its popularity, its friends must be indeed numerous. Snow Lark, Snowbird, Prairie Lark, Sky Lark, American Sky Lark, Horned Lark, are a few of them. There is only one American Species, so far as known. It breeds in northeastern North America and Greenland, wintering in the United States. It also inhabits northern portions of the old world. The common name is derived from the tufts of black feathers over each ear, which the birds have the power of erecting at will like the so-called horns of some owls.
In the Eastern States, during the winter months, flocks of Horned Larks, varying in size from a dozen to those of a hundred or more, may be seen frequenting open plains, old fields, dry shores of bays, and the banks of rivers. According to Davie, as there are a number of geographical varieties of the Horned Lark, the greatest uncertainty has always attended their identification even by experts, and the breeding and winter ranges of the various subspecies do not yet seem to be clearly defined.
Audubon found this species on the low, mossy and sheltered hills along the dreary coast of Labrador. In the midst of the mosses and lichens that covered the rocks the bird imbedded its nest, composed of fine grasses, arranged in a circular form and lined with the feathers of grouse and other birds.
Chapman says these Larks take wing with a sharp, whistled note, and seek fresh fields or, hesitating, finally swing about and return to near the spot from which they were flushed. They are sometimes found associated with Snowflakes. The pinkish grey coloring is very beautiful, but in the Middle and Eastern States this bird is rarely seen in his spring garb, says an observer, and his winter plumage lacks the vivid contrasts and prime color.
As a singer the Shore Lark is not to be despised, especially in his nesting haunts. He has a habit of singing as he soars in the air, after the manner of the European Skylark.
HORNED LARK.—Otocoris alpestris. Other name: “Shore Lark.”
Range—Breeds in northern Europe, Greenland, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Hudson Bay region; southward in winter into eastern United States to about latitude 35°.
Nest—Of grasses, on the ground.
Eggs—Three or four, pale bluish or greenish white, minutely and evenly speckled with pale grayish brown.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. (Psalms 104:12 ESV)
The Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) is a member of the Alaudidae – Larks Family. There are 98 members presently in that family. In Europe they are called the Shore Lark, same as the title. Here we call it today the Horned Lark.
Unlike most other larks, this is a distinctive-looking species on the ground, mainly brown-grey above and pale below, with a striking black and yellow face pattern. The summer male has black “horns”, which give this species its American name. America has a number of races distinguished by the face pattern and back color of males, especially in summer. The southern European mountain race Eremophila alpestris penicillata is greyer above, and the yellow of the face pattern is replaced with white.
The Horned Lark breeds across much of North America from the high Arctic south to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, northernmost Europe and Asia and in the mountains of southeast Europe. There is also an isolated population on a plateau in Colombia. It is mainly resident in the south of its range, but northern populations of this passerine bird are migratory, moving further south in winter.
This is a bird of open ground. In Eurasia it breeds above the tree line in mountains and the far north. In most of Europe, it is most often seen on seashore flats in winter, leading to the European name. In the UK it can be found as a winter stopover along the coasts and in eastern England although a mated pair have been recently spotted in Windmill End nature reserve in the West Midlands. In America, where there are no other larks to compete with, it’s also found on farmland, on prairies, in deserts, on golf courses and airports, and the like.
The nest is on the ground, with 2-5 eggs being laid. Food is seeds supplemented with insects in the breeding season. The nest may be near corn or soybeans for a source of food, and the female chooses the site.
Vocalizations are high-pitched, lisping or tinkling, and weak. The song, given in flight as is common among larks, consists of a few chips followed by a warbling, ascending trill.
Here is a Horned Lark Video Portrait from TheMusicOfNature
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)
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Horned Lark – All About Birds
Horned Lark – Wikipedia
Horned Lark Identifications - Petersons
Horned Lark – About.com
Alaudidae – Larks Family