|male (l) and female (r) Horned Larks|
At the new intersection corner of Hwy 5 and 8 south, I spotted a small group of about 10 birds flying short distance through the sparse weeds which had just had time to regrow after the construction of the traffic circle at Peter's Corners. Up until recently, I had assumed every bird that size was a sparrow (or otherwise, affectionately referred to as "little brown jobbies". A more careful look pays off. They were all Horned Larks.
|female Horned Lark|
Horned Larks are larks (surprise) that live in much of North America, but breed in the Arctic tundra and southern plains and into Ontario with a strange "hole" in the middle (see the range map at Cornell's site. I wonder what causes the "donut" effect.
I was only able to take pictures from the car window. After doing a contortionist move to switch from the driver seat to the passenger without getting out of the car, I got these shots in the dull, overcast light of the morning. They were busy eating seeds and singing away with their busy, chipper songs.
|male (l) and female (r) Horned Lark|
The last picture is nothing great, but shows the little feather tufts which give it the look of having small horns, thus the name. You probably need to view the picture full size to really see them. This was life bird number #112.