Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lark Sparrow; May Bird Migration to Northern Illinois

A Lark Sparrow, Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve; 5/1/2011
 My favorite sparrow, the Lark Sparrow (Above), has returned to Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, in the exact location I saw him one year ago. See my post about how the Lark Sparrow made me take notice and appreciate all sparrows:

A pair of Lark Sparrows, Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve; 5/1/2011
 A year ago in May, when I was dissing (sorry - teenager slang for 'disrespecting' from the school I teach at) sparrows and not taking photos of them, ignoring them for more colorful and interesting birds, I accidently ran across a Lark Sparrow, which I never heard of nor saw before. The Lark Sparrow, as it turned out, is very beautiful with its boldly patterned head of rufous, black and white, and not as common around the area as other sparrows. By ignoring this beautiful bird, thinking it was "just an old sparrow," I didn't try to take a decent picture of it, and was sorry afterwards while browsing through my photos. So when I saw a pair of Lark Sparrows foraging on the ground near the same spot I saw last year's Lark, I was happy to have a second chance of getting a decent photograph. These sparrows which changed my attitude about sparrows forever, not only gave me a second chance, but thirds and fourths as well. They stuck around, let me get pretty close and stayed in the open for me to take their portraits. Eventually a man walking his dog scared the pair of Larks into a nearby tree. But they were still on an open branch in clear view for me take some more pics (Above).
Lark Sparrow, Blackhawk Springs Forest preserve; 5/1/2011
Although to me they are not very common in the places I do my hiking and birding, my The Sibley Field Guide to Birds says they are common in grassy fields with scattered trees (exactly the area I saw these guys). But Illinois is near the eastern edge of their summer grounds (they also will reach into Indiana), but they are more common from the Mississippi River westward to the Pacific, from New Mexico and the northern edges of Texas as far north as the southern regions of Canada.

I saw the same two Lark Sparrows a couple of weeks later in the same area of Blackhawk Springs and another one in a different area of the Preserve. So I am counting on these guys to be summer regulars in the area. Thank you, Larks, for giving me the proper appreciation of the sparrow world. 

1 comment:

Chesney said...

I love this sparrow's markings! I think many people over look how beautiful the sparrow is just because there are so many of them!