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
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.
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.
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 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.