ARTISTS AND  BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"A Barren Habitat"

Horned Lark
 

Horned Lark        Last week we were passing through southern Nevada, an area spotted here and there with cattle, and only munched over weeds left for food.  A place where a Grasshopper would have to carry a sack lunch.  Our thoughts were - there’s nothing out there to eat.  Then, almost immediately, the air over the highway was covered with a flock of birds and the only thing that could survive in this desolation would be Horned Larks.  Yes, it was Horned Larks and their pale underbodies in flight seemed to blend right into the barren landscape.  For the next 20 - 40 miles Horned Larks kept dashing across the highway, courting death with our speeding vehicle.  The ground on both sides of the highway seemed to be alive with these hardy little desert dwellers who love barren places.

        Horned Larks inhabit an elevation range from sea level to an altitude of 13,000 feet.  These small birds live in large, empty fields and are roughly the same color and size as a clod of dirt.  Only when they turn their black and yellow faces toward you will you recognize them as birds.  Speaking of empty fields . . . when a female is ready to mate she performs a likely dust bath courting ritual, and it works.   Interested males will try to impress the female by flying up to 800 feet and then drop from the sky at incredible speeds where at the last moment he unfolds his wings and lands safely.   Whewww!  The Horned Lark is a songbird, singing out wee-pit, pit-wee, pit-wit, tete-zeet.  When the female is satisfied she picked a winner, she will nest on the ground and lay 2-5 eggs. 

        Common habitats include prairies, deserts, tundra, beaches, dunes, and heavily grazed pastures.  Larks eat seeds and insects.  They glean most of their food from the ground but will also harvest seeds from plant seed heads.  Keep a lookout for the Horned Lark when driving through similar habitat.  It could make the trip interesting enough to keep you awake. 

        For more information about birds, Christmas Bird Counts, and Winter Bird Festival - call 435 673-0996 or go to our home page .  Marilyn Davis is the artist this week. 

        Past "Artists & Birds" articles are listed in the table below.
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Past Articles
"Cold Days and Good Memories"  (White Pelican) 
"Where's Sherlock Holmes When You Need Him?" (YB Cuckoo)
"Tale of Four Birders"  (Western Scrub Jay)
"East Zion Continued" (Golden-crowned Kinglet),
  Vermilion Flycatcher
"Aerial Wolves" (Sharp-shinned Hawk)
"From Clown School to Pond" (Ruddy Duck)
"Shades of Red" Red-tailed Hawk
"Predatory Songbird" (Northern Shrike)

"
The Cagey Killdeer"
"A True Bird Story" (Willet)
"A Song to Remember" (Hermit Thrush)
"To Catch a Fish..." (Green Heron aka Green-backed Heron)
"No Spring Cleaning" (Brown-headed Cowbird)
"Look-alikes Galore" (Sage Sparrow)
"A Jazzy Singer" (Cassin's Finch)
"Salute the Coot" (American Coot)
"Put a Smile on Your Face" (Greater Roadrunner)
"The Tale of Fred and Ethel" (Mallard)
"A Flutter of Sparrows" (Clay-colored Sparrow)
"A Sight to Remember" (Blue-gray Gnatcatcher)
"About Night Life" (Northern Saw-whet Owl)
"Black and White and Smart All Over" (BB Magpie)
"Dressed for Dinner... of Fine Wines and Bugs" (RN Sapsucker)
"A Life List" (Painted Redstart)
"Bird-Brained" (Flammulated Owl)
"Needle in a Haystack" (White-throated Sparrow)
"Booby Trap Nest" (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
"The Crowd Pleaser" (Western Tanager)
"Seeds and Civilization" (American Tree Sparrow)
"A Childhood Treasure" (Black-headed Grosbeak)
"Those Itchy Red Bumps" (Cliff Swallow)
"Is There a Bee in Your Bonnet" (Utah bees)
"Where's My Winter Coat" (Great-tailed Grackle)
"Ice Age Tree Planter" (Blue Jay)
"An Uncommon Beauty" (Black-and-white Warbler)
"What's In a Name" (American Redstart)
"When the Cold Winds Blow" (Western Grebe)
"A National Beauty" (Bald Eagle)

"Feathered Tiger" (Cooper's Hawk)
"The Accomplished Carpenter" (Acorn Woodpecker)
"Jewels" (Evening Grosbeak)
"Observations on the Road" (Rock Pigeon)
"A Leftover Memory" (California Gull)
"Lifelong Dreams" (Greater Roadrunner)
"Who's in Your Yard"  Wren)
"A Touch of Blue" (Mountain Bluebirds)
"Fur and Feathers" (Spotted Owl)
"Chick-a-dee-dee-dee" (Mountain Chickadee)
"In Search of" (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
"Wanderlust" (Canada Goose)
"Einstein Birds" (American Crow)
"What Spring Brings" (American Wigeon)
"Magnificent and Adaptable" (Golden Eagle)
"The Loneliest Sound" (Common Loon)
"When a Rare One Shows" (Thayer's Gull)
"Bird of the Ocean Shores" (Brown Pelican)
"A Mature Forest" (Northern Goshawk)
"When Black Eyes are Cool" (Short-eared Owl)
"Spring Is Busting Out All Over" (American Robin)
"Acrobatic Survivor" (Common Raven)
"Are You Ready For Hummers?" (Calliope HBird)
"Poppies, Rock Wren, and a Trip in Time" (Rock Wren)

"What’s On Tonaquint Pond?" (Baby Mallard Ducks)
"Definitely Not High-Uintah Parrots" (Pine Grosbeak)
"Before Radio, Records, and Hi-Fi" (N. Mockingbird)
"Bloomington Hills Drive Pond" (Birds of Southern Utah)
"Marks of Identification" (Northern Harrier)
"Nature’s Fighter Plane" (Common Nighthawk)
"King of the Western Skies" (California Condor)
"Are Bugs On Your Diet?" Ash-throated Flycatcher
"Warblers with Cavities" Lucy's Warbler
"Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner" Steller's Jay
"Life Bird List" Indigo Bunting
"Valley of Ghosts" Burned habitat
"One Raven is a Good Omen" Raven
"Way-Cool Bird" Cassin's Kingbird
"What a Song Will Do" Virginia Rail
"Surprise at Kolob"  Chestnut-backed Chickadee
"Hatches and Hatches" Mourning Dove babies
"Power Lines and Fence Posts" American Kestrel
"Pump-er-Lunk, Pump-er-Lunk" American Bittern
"What's a Chukar" Chukar
"A Jacket in The Morning" Oregon Junco
 "Silhouettes in the Sky" Turkey Vulture

"The Sound of Fall" White-crowned Sparrow
"Where Birds Hang Out" Ruby-crowned Kinglet
"Just Desserts" Canvasback Duck
"Reasons to Visit Zion" Wild Turkey

" Disappearing Act" Sage Sparrow
"A Favorite Bird of the UK" English Robin
"The Christmas Card Bird" Black-capped Chickadee
"Warm Slippers" Rough-legged Hawk

"Beautiful, But Strange" Northern Shoveler
"Live Christmas Tree Ornaments" Scrub Jay
"Red and Black and ..." Vermilion Flycatcher
"Bird Songs" Birds at the feeder

"Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!" Ovenbird
"Raptors and Bird Feeders"
"Who’s Who in Winter" Abert's Towhee "
"The Original Centerfold Model" Eastern bluebird

"What This ‘Look-Alike’ Looks Like" Pine Siskin
"To Shine a Light on a Name" Cedar Waxwing
"Find a Ladder-backed WP" Ladder-backed WP
"The Price of Bird Seed" Lesser Goldfinch
"Our Juniper Trees" Townsend's Solitaire
"Bird Friendly Backyard" Lazuli Bunting 
"What’s in a Lek?" Sage Grouse
"The Dueling Doves"
M. Dove - Collared-Dove
"Frozen Dinners" Turkey Vulture
"Stop, Sit, Listen & Watch" Common Yellowthroat
"The Night Hunter" Black-crowned Night-Heron

"Window Peekers" Hummingbirds
"When Food’s Free" Bullock's Oriole 
 "Here To Stay!" House Sparrow
"Wild Places" Black-throated Sparrow
"Weird Spring - Many Birds" Western Tanager
"A Little Bird Watching" baby bird watching
"Stripes, Streaks, Bills, Crowns, and Colors"  Lark Sparrow
"Hoping for Perfect"
Gray Catbird
"Home Sweet Home???" Horned Lark
"Ah, the Western Bluebird!"
"The 'Under Cover" Bird" Green-tailed Towhee
"A Shady Patio"Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk
"Quail Talk" Gambel's Quail 
"Flight of Dragonflies" 
  Ruffed Grouse/Rattlesnake
"Bird Feathers"
"Protective Coloration" Pigeons 
"The Agile Scavenger" Common Raven 
"Where Have All The Pheasants Gone?"
"Black is Beautiful!" Common Black Hawk
 
"A Best Friend" Barn owl 
"The Ugly Duckling" Mute Swan 
"What Birders Do" Magnificent Hummingbird 
"The Magic of October" Double-crested Cormorant 
"A Gibberish Conversation" Great-tailed Grackle 
"Black Things - Flying" American Coot 
"Flying Fortress White Pelican 
"What is a CBC?" Golden-crowned Sparrow
"Is That a Wild Canary?" Yellow Warbler 
"A Tale of a Great Blue Heron
" Great Blue Heron
 "Better To Wait For Breakfast..." Merlin
"This Was The Place" Red-winged Blackbirds 
"Just To Be Noticed" Pied-billed Grebe 
"Crash Landing" Eared Grebe 
"Where’s It Gonna Show Next?" Anna's Hummingbird

"Become a Junior Birder"
"Seen Any UFOs???"
"Feathered Treasures"
"The Long Way Home" Northern Harrier
 
"Mr. Lonesome" Greater Roadrunner 
"Four of a Kind" Black-crowned Night Heron
"Winter Colors" American Goldfinch
 
"Black Snow" European Starling 
"Looking Way Good" Belted Kingfisher 
"To Fill A Niche" Black-billed Magpie 
"Worth Every Cent" Backyard Chickens

"Wet and Bedraggled Pigeon..." Cooper's Hawk
"Why Don't We?" Northern Cardinal
"Rarely, but Possible" Harris's Sparrow
"A Lucky Fluke" Yellow-headed Blackbird
"What Spring Will Bring" Willow Flycatcher
"To Venture Outdoors"  Sharp-shinned Hawk
"St. George at its Finest!" Canyon Wren
"A Suitable Nest" Vermilion Flycatcher
"Stuck in Dixie"  Tree Swallow

"Time to Visit Zion" Blue Grosbeak
"Call From the Wild" Bullock's Oriole nest
"Apple Valley Babies"Western Scrub Jays
"The Fading Song Act" Cactus Wren
"To Win the Ladies"
Northern Mockingbird
"Color is Significant to a Flicker" Northern Flicker 

"King of Bunker Hill"Gambel's Quail
"The Dinner Table"Ferruginous Hawk 
"A Water Tank" Mourning Dove
"Faraway Places
"  Black-throated Blue Warbler 
"Faraway Places - Part 2" Franklin's Gull
"Brenda Rusnell - Artist "
"Hit Or Miss" Sharp-shinned Hawk 
"The Flashy Singer/Babysitter" Prothonotary Warbler 
"A Sighting To Remember" Canada Warbler
"Super Size this Meal but Skip the French Fries" BG Heron 
"The Last Days of Summer" Red-eyed Vireo 
"More Than Just Spectators" Great-tailed Grackles 
"A Song to Love" Western Meadowlark 
"The Amazing Migrant" Bobolink 
"A Thistle Sock" Lesser Goldfinch
"From a Bird’s Point of View" Chipping Sparrow 
"At Just the Right Time" Cedar Waxwing 
"A Chicken in Every Pot " Chicken
"A Perfect Flight" Feathers 
"An Atmosphere of Comfort " Burrowing Owl
"Goose Girl" Domesticated Goose 
"Looking For A Super Sleuth" Vermilion Flycatcher 
"Birds and Bugs" Black Swift 
"Why Not Make a Memory?" Spotted Towhee 
"Curious About Birds? " Bewick's Wren
"Ow-Wow, Ow-Wow, Ow-Wow" Hooded Merganser 
"A Snipe Hunt"  Wilson's Snipe
"The Butcher Bird" Loggerhead Shrike 
"Just Happens Event" Killdeer
 
"A Spring Show" Cattle Egret 
"Are You Nuts" Double-breasted Nutcracker 
"If You Build It, They Will Come" American Robin 
"Passing Through Southern Utah" Black-necked Stilt 
"Listen Inside and Outside" Say's Phoebe
"Frozen Dinners" Paper Wasps vs Woodpeckers 
"Weather or Not" Golden Eagle 
"Troubadours From Mexico" Great-tailed Grackle 
"Sticks, Straw, and Bricks "
"Front Door Nursery
"Eggs And Ravens" Common Raven
"Field Trips are to Die For" Phainopepla
 
"A Successful Introduction" Wild Turkey 
"Follow The Leader" Turkey Vulture 
"When There’s Fire" 
"A New Kind of Sport "
"What to Do With Flying Pests "
"Oak Grove and Hummers" Broad-tailed Hummingbirds
"Being Fed" Feeding baby birds

"Crash Day"Learning to Fly 
"Thunderstorms and Scrambled Eggs" 
"Hold the Mud . . ."  Blue Grosbeak
"A Feathery Mystery"
"Magnetic Yards" 
"Rainbows and Gambel’s Quail"
"Not an Ordinary Bird" Phainopepla
"Sunflowers - Free Lunch" Lesser Goldfinch
"Passing Through" Townsend's Warbler
"How High Can You Count?" Blackbirds
"Belly Flops and Kingfishers" Belted Kingfisher
"Listen and Learn" Northern Mockingbird
"Food, Safety and Welcome" Red-winged Blackbird 

"Whooo, Whooo, Whooo, Whoooo?" Long-eared Owl
"Have Breakfast with a Bird" Baltimore Oriole
"Tongue Lashing from a Bird" House Wren
"Food and Easy Takings" Mourning Dove

"When It's Snow Time in the Rockies" Snow Birds
"Clothes Make the Man . . But *" Indigo Bunting

"The Call of Roosters" Chickens
"Find The Vermilion Flycatcher"
"A Snowy Zion" Dark-eyed Junco
"A Day Well Spent" Bald Eagle
"Easy Pickings" Eurasian Collared-Dove
"The Christmas Bird" Northern Cardinal
"Feathers in the Air" American Kestrel
"Is the Festival Over?" California Gull
"A Song of the Outdoors" Hermit Thrush
"What's on Your Pond?" Bufflehead
"A Must See" Ring-necked Duck
"Bird with the Most Smarts" American Crow
"Free Symphonies This Spring" Young artists birds
"Own a Chunk of Gold" Sandhill Crane
"Feathers on the Ground" Peregrine Falcon
"A Bill for What?" Northern Shoveler
"He's Back" Say's Phoebe
"Opportunistic Feeders" Cattle Egret
"When Habitat Disappears" Long-billed Curlew
"Bug Spray or Flycatchers???" Vermilion Flycatcher
"Talk to a Bird" Yellow Warbler
"Bathing Beauties"
"Who's Who...Parent or Baby"
"Did You Know..." California Quail
"Surprise Sighting" Solitary Vireo
"Bringing Home the Bacon (Bugs)"Western Kingbird
"Are the Grapes Ripe Yet?"House Sparrows
"Following Mom"
"When Grapes Are Ripe" Northern Mockingbird
"Dangers All Around"  Gambel's Quail
"Unexpected Visitor" Hummingbird
"Don't Miss What's Happening in Your Yard" Sharp-shinned Hawk
"Common, but Not So Common" Greater Roadrunner
"The Bird That Digs and Runs" Crissal Thrasher
"Birds and Temperature" American Wigeon
"A Picnic for Travelers" Lesser Goldfinch
"UFO's - Unexpected Flying Objects" Turkey Vulture
"Golden Eagles vs Cheatgrass"
"A Roller Coaster Ride"
"Hawks and Doves"
"When Leaves Fall from Trees"
"One Small Superhero" Northern Saw-whet Owl
"Snow in Dixie" Western Scrub Jay
"A Sunday Buffet?" American Kestrel
"Unexpected Surprises"
"Almost Never" Streak-backed Oriole
"Bird-friendly Plants" House Sparrow
"The Fly Over" Mute Swan
"Help...Help...Help" Peacock
"Picnic on the Beach" California Gull
"Hotel Accommodations" Say's Phoebe
"Weather Sense" White-crowned Sparrow/Dark-eyed Junco
"Looking for Quality Males" Sage Grouse
"A Keynote Bird" Vermilion Flycatcher
"A New Comer" White-winged Dove
"Fascination" Western Kingbird
"Migration Stopover" Glossy Ibis

"Sweet Sweet Sweet - I’m So Sweet" Yellow Warbler
"With a Black Spot" Song Sparrow
"The Most Wanted List" Brown-headed Cowbird
"Strange Looking Birds" Say's Phoebes
"The Everywhere Bird" Horned Lark
"Hollyhocks and Hummers" Black-chinned Hummingbird
"Habitats Make a Difference" Hooded Oriole vs Social Weaver Bird
"!!*&#!!@%*$#!!" Northern Mockingbird
"A Turkey in the Sky" Turkey Vulture
"A Bird with Many Names" Black-billed Magpie
"Desert Hummers" Costa's Hummingbird
"People Matter"
"Bedraggled" Great-tailed Grackle
"A Formidable Predator" Cooper's Hawk
"A Feeding Frenzy" American Robin
"It Looks Like Spring"
"Sounds of the Night" Great Horned Owl
"Delayed Takeoff" Turkey Vulture
"Eighty Percent Correct" Red-tailed Hawk
"A Most Important Bird" Red Jungle Fowl
"Alive and Thriving" Common Raven
"All Dressed Up in Black & White" Black-billed Magpie


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