Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fabulous Lark Sparrow photos

If you caught my recent post about an excursion into the Oak Openings, you also saw a totally marginal photo of a Lark Sparrow that I took. Well, award-winning photographer Bruce Miller was along as well, sporting the big lens. And he got some doozies. A bit of Lark Sparrowian eye candy follows...

A boldly patterned male Lark Sparrow stands proud, as if modeling for Bruce's lens. No shrinking violet Le Conte's Sparrow types, these harlequin-faced beauts.

The female of the pair gathers rootlets for nesting material. Given where these birds were, chances are good that some of that vegetation is listed as endangered or threatened. But we'll cut her some slack - these Lark Sparrows of the Oak Openings are the easternmost breeding population.

In a remarkable display of multitasking, we saw the male mount her several times - while she also held a mouthful of nesting material. Efficient little devils, I'd say.

Thanks mucho to Bruce for sharing his fabulous work with us.


Wil said...

Awesome post Jim. I would love to see these sparrows. They are lovely and Bruce sure did get some nice shots.

plainbirder said...

Last year we had a least one nesting pair of Lark Sparrows at Leighley Hill rd on the Holmes Co. Tuscarawas Co. border which would make THEM the easternmost nesting pair. (we are pretty defensive of our birds)They are back on territory again.

theBirdistheWord said...

Great photos!

I noticed the females often soliciting copulation in this way. In all cases, including this picture, the female held a beak-full of fine nesting material, especially horse hair. I think that this signaled that she was choosing this male's territory and was ready for the final stage of nest building just prior to egg laying. I'm still not sure if the male assists in nest building, but something to keep in mind.

I also noticed that the female was one of the birds I color-banded a few years back (though the combination is obscured). Any chance I could get copies of any photos you took where a color band is visible? (rossjd AT It would be greatly appreciated.

Hallie said...

Actually, there is a nesting pair close to Sugarcreek. If you look at the Breeding Bird Atlas site, you can locate them. Great birds and great pictures! You are so right, "Eye Candy" is so appropriate.

carolyn said...

thanks for the great pics of Lark Sparrow. We were able to identify the larger boldly colored sparrow-like bird that came to feeder a couple of days ago. Never saw one before at east side of Seneca Lake in NY. Thanks!