A Lark, or two, or four

The merry lark he soars on high, No worldly thought o’ertakes him. He sings aloud to the clear blue sky, And the daylight that awakes him. -Hartley Coleridge

Male Horned Lark displayingMale Horned Lark displaying

Hartley Coleridge lived in England from 1796 to 1849 and I’m certain he wasn’t writing about the Larks we have in North America but I thought it was a suitable quote for a post on larks. The only native true lark that lives and breeds in North America is the Horned Lark. The male above was photographed in Tooele County, Utah a few days ago as he displayed on top of a rock. I didn’t see a female nearby but perhaps he did.

Female Lark BuntingFemale Lark Bunting

Another bird with “lark” in its name is the Lark Bunting which is actually in the sparrow family. I photographed this female (please correct me if I am wrong in case this is a non-breeding male) at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana in June of 2011. So far the only opportunity I have had to photograph this species is the day I took this image.

Lark SparrowLark Sparrow

The Lark Sparrow earns its name by singing like a lark and I am expecting their return to Utah any day now. I love that Harlequin pattern on their faces. This Lark Sparrow was photographed last May on Antelope Island State Park.

Western MeadowlarkWestern Meadowlark

Western Meadowlarks aren’t larks or sparrows, they are Icterids but they sing like a lark too. This one was photographed yesterday on Antelope Island State Park. Right now they are singing on territory and they don’t seem able to stop them selves from singing even when they are hunting or eating food.

There is a small breeding population of Sky Larks that were introduced near Vancouver that originated from Britain, Sky Larks that are seen elsewhere are likely vagrants from Asia.


Additional posts you might enjoy:

About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Many thanks for all your comments on the “lark” post. All of these are amazing birds with beautiful songs.

  2. Lovely collection of lark images, Mia!

  3. Gorgeous pics, Mia! Its nice to see the little pretties up so close!

  4. Beautiful series of “lark” shots! All wonderful birds.


  5. Mia, I was flabbergasted when saw your post this morning. I have a recent pix of a bird and have been looking all over to see what it is…out at Lake Mead in las vegas! I had not ever seen this before….what a wonderful coincidence you posted a photo of Male Horned Lark!!!!!!!!!!! Thanx soooooo much….I LOVE your site!!!!!!!

  6. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Dear Mia, I can’t tell you the number of times the information I’ve received from your field notes has enriched and enlarged my understanding especially in the world of birds. This is a prime example. I had heard that there were larks breeding in this area, and it caused me to be sceptical about it, since I couldn’t imagine Western Meadowlarks around here. Now I know what they were talking about… and hope some day to see a real one and even more hopefully, maybe get a chance to photo it. Many thanks.

  7. Neat series. Beautiful photos.

  8. The horned lark is cute but be still my heart for a meadowlark. Heard many of them on my way to a friend’s last night and just makes MY heart sing.

  9. Another wonderful post with superb quality photographs!
    When we lived in Europe, we were in awe of the Skylark courtship flight while singing their wonderful song.

    The local Meadowlarks are doing the same as yours, singing no matter what else is happening!

  10. Beautiful birds and awesome shots, Mia!

  11. Wow Mia! Absolute stunners!

  12. Gorgeous, Mia! I wasn’t aware that only one true lark lives here in North America–interesting! I really love that meadowlark–great capture as he sings! :)

  13. Love those birds! Beautiful photos!

  14. Awesome post Mia, I’m so excited, you have introduced two species here that I have not heard of, I will have to do some research now. Lovely photos

  15. Thanks so much for this, I needed a refresher on the “Lark” terminology. Beautiful images and quote.

  16. beautifull serie mia,
    with a good quality for each picture,
    a pleasure to watch ☺
    have a nice week end ☼

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