The Eurasian Skylark population registers in the millions in Europe and Asia but the only place it resides in North America is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia…between Sidney and Victoria. The subject of countless British poems (google Wordsworth and Tennyson) dating back hundreds of years, this famous songbird was introduced to parts of the USA and Canada in the early 1900’s. Buick even named a car after it in the 1950’s. Sadly, its NA population has almost been extirpated due to loss of farmland, changing agricultural practices and predation from starlings, crows and foxes.
The brown-colored skylark is well camouflaged and shy on the ground and very difficult to locate among its preferred grasslands. During breeding season, the skylark will “sing on territory” but its courtship display is unique. Rather than pose and sing on top of an exposed perch like many male birds, this aerial acrobat infrequently alights from its hidden position in the field and simultaneously twitters as it ascends to heights of 300 feet….a brown dot against the sky. Its unpredictable descent back to earth may have evolved to juke raptors but it frustrates photographers.
After two hours and three misses from the grounds of Longview (daffodil) Farm, I finally caught one with my telephoto lens. Not suitable for a framed print but this shot proves that indeed, the Eurasian Skylark still resides in North America.