My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

A Lark Sparrow in Fort Erie

Published November 26, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Lark Sparrow, House Sparrow, Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrel, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Merganser, White-winged Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Double-crested Cormorant, American Black Duck, Mallard

Hoping to find the Lark Sparrow that's been seen in Fort Erie, a few of us headed up that way to try our luck this morning.  After nearly two hours of searching, Alec Humann pointed out a bush he recognized from some of the recent photos of the sparrow.  Celeste Morien looked across the road at the bush and said, "Oh, there's a sparrow in there now - towards the top."  A slight pause - "It's the LARK SPARROW!!!".  Wow.  Thank you Alec.  Thank you, Celeste!  A few more birders joined us soon after that and, as we followed the little guy moving through the brush and bramble along the roadway, we all got some wonderful looks at his handsome self.

The Lark Sparrow is not a common visitor to our area.  I had the pleasure of meeting Kayo Roy at the Lark Sparrow's location today and he mentioned that this was the first Lark Sparrow he's seen in the Niagara area in over 35 years! I know others have been reported in BOS territory, but that certainly does say a lot as to how special today's sighting was. Not to mention the fact that it was a life bird for me!

Rick Bee played its song for us in the car and we all thought it's too bad that we don't get the chance to see and hear this handsome bird in the spring; it's song is beautiful.

An interesting fact about the Lark Sparrow is that often, it will not build its own nest, but rather it takes over mockingbird or thrasher nests. And sometimes, the eggs and young of two species can be found in the same nest. It's not known for sure yet - but evidence suggests - they are sharing the nest with the other bird.

Also, the Lark Sparrow will walk on ground, rather than hop. The only time it hops is during courtship.

As we birded the vicinity, we also saw a Cooper's Hawk, a Bald Eagle, an American Kestrel, a Peregrine Falcon, and many House Sparrows that the Lark Sparrow has been seen associating with.  With four raptors in that small area in that short time frame, I was struck by how tenuous life is for these little birds. It's obviously great hunting grounds for the hunters, though.

Today's encounters with the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon were the closest encounters with both that I've had to date.

Along and in the river, we found: Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Merganser, White-winged Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Double-crested Cormorant, American Black Duck, and many Mallards.

If no rarities show up between now and Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!
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Lark Sparrow
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Lark Sparrow
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Lark Sparrow
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Lark Sparrow
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Lark Sparrow
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Lark Sparrow tucked in the thick brush.
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Here, I caught the Lark Sparrow opening its mouth. I didn't hear anything, so I don't think he chirped.
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Lark Sparrow checking us birders out!
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Peregrine Falcon
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Peregrine Falcon
Reply from: Tim on 11/27/2013 1:26 PM
 Great series of photos Sue really like that falcon!
Reply from: Tim on 11/27/2013 1:26 PM
 Great series of photos Sue really like that falcon!
Reply from: Tim on 11/27/2013 1:26 PM
 Great series of photos Sue really like that falcon!
Reply from: Sue on 12/1/2013 6:11 AM
 Thanks very much, Tim. And yeh, that Peregrine was such a nice gift! :)