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| Vol. II

Nesting of the Streaked Horned Lark.


Contrary to the opinion entertained by certain of my ornithological brethren. I think the title of this article will convey to the mind of the average reader at least, an inkling as to the identity of the subject. However, to clear away the doubts of scientists, it is also known as Ofocoris alpestris strigata. Around Tacoma these little larks are extremely local in their distribution, large areas of prairie being altogether untenanted, while an exactly similar piece of land will be swarming with them. They seem to be largely influenced by their fondness for human society. This is clearly illustrated by a walk over the links of the Tacoma Golf Club, a section of prairie about one mile long by three-quarters of a mile broad, and which is covered with players all through the year.

Photo by J. H. Bowles.


The surrounding prairie extends for miles where hardly a dozen pairs of the birds can be found in a day's walk, while on the links last summer I estimated that fully one hundred pairs must have nested. Indeed, so sociable are they that only an occasional nest is placed more than a few feet from the "putting green' or the "tee-off' (golfers will understand.) As Major Bendire considered the nesting of these birds a comparatively unknown quantity. I spent a large part of my spare time last summer in studying them, with the following results, to which I have added a few dates of the past two years.

They begin to arrive in this vicinity in the latter part of February, for the most part already in pairs. Towards the end of October both young and old assemble in flocks and leave very soon afterwards, although a few single birds usually stay through the winter. The earliest date for eggs was a set of two on April 30, in which incubation was far advanced, and I consider this to be as early as they ever breed here for I have never seen young birds that would indicate an earlier date. 'The height of the nesting season does not come until the middle of May and lasts through the first week in June, although I took a slightly incubated set of two eggs on July 26.

The nest is a very difficult one to find and my first efforts were most discouraging, indeed I may add, that without the use of my dog I have never found a nest except by chance while playing the game of golf. My dog considers nesting a most welcome diversion during the summer months, when for some inconceivable reason I do not shoot