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 Horned Lark

Status in Michigan
Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Horned Lark.

Use the links below to view the Horned Lark reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Horned Lark sightings.
Horned Lark Archives Reports
Fall 2003 373
Spring 2003 239
Winter 02-03 465
Fall 2002 168
Summer 2002 4
Spring 2002 288
Winter 01-02 425
Fall 2001 299
Summer 2001 4
Spring 2001 37
Winter 00-01 752
Fall 2000 194
Summer 2000 2
Spring 2000 337
Winter 00-99 487
Fall 1999 591
Spring/Summer 1999 4

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Horned Lark

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Horned Lark
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Horned Lark
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Eremophila alpestris
Horned Larks Since the 3 races of Horned Larks found in Michigan in winter can be identified with certainty only by actual comparison of specimens, the following accounts are based largely on specimens. The Northern Homed Lark, a transient and winter visitant, is most numerous along the shores of the Great Lakes, where it seems at times to be more abundant than the resident Prairie Horned Lark. Walker and Trautman (1936: 151-55) believed that the Northern Horned Lark greatly outnumbered the Prairie Horned Lark during the winter in central Ohio. Hoyt's Horned Lark, a winter visitant, is much less common than either of the other forms. There is no mid-winter Michigan specimen of either the Hoyt's or the Northern Homed Lark in the Museum of Zoology.

Eremophila alpestris hoyti (Bishop) Hoyt's Horned Lark

Uncommon winter visitant.

Oberholser (1902: 812, 815) included Michigan in the winter range of Hoyt 's Horned Lark, listing Grand Rapids among the localities represented by specimens he had examined. Barrows (1912: 410) mentioned 2 Hoyt's Horned Larks (P. A. Taverner collection) taken in Montmorency County in the fall of 1908; Taverner informs us, however, that only 1 of the 2 specimens referred to (collected November 18, 1908, by Albert Jones) is a Hoyt's Horned Lark, the other being a Northern Horned Lark. Near Ann Arbor, Brodkorb (1936: 455) and Max M. Peet collected 7 specimens (U.M.M.Z. and Max M. Peet collection), 5 on February 22, and 2 on March 11 in 1934.

Eremophila alpestris alpestris (Linnaeus) Northern Horned Lark

Transient and winter visitant, especially along the Great Lakes.

Max M. Peet collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on Isle Royale on September 13, 1905, and N. A. Wood took 5 (U.M.M.Z.) there on September 26, 1929. S. S. Gregory, Jr., has 3 specimens in his collection taken in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County: September 26, 1919, October 2, 1928, October 9, 1924. A series (U.M.M.Z.) was collected on Charity Island, Huron County, by N. A. Wood and others from September 23 to October 6, 1910, and a series at Fish Point, Tuscola County, by various collectors from September 16 to November 6. Walter Koelz secured a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) near the western boundary of Washtenaw County, on October 16, 1922.

Brodkorb (1936: 455) took 7 Northern Horned Larks near Ann Arbor on February 22, 1934, and R. E. Olsen 1 (U.M.M.Z.) near Vassar, Tuscola County, on February 18, 1934.

Two specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in late spring, both at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County: Brodkorb secured 1 on May 22, 2023 (he saw several other Horned Larks at the time that he believed to be of this race); N. A. Wood (1914: 66) took 1 (apparently injured) on May 30, 1914.

Eremophila alpestris praticola (Henshaw) Prairie Horned Lark

Common summer resident. Winters in small numbers in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula.

SPRING.-The species apparently moves northward early in the spring. Swales reported a gradual increase in numbers of Horned Larks in the Detroit area in late February and early March. T. D. Hinshaw secured several Prairie Horned Larks (U.M.M.Z.) in Tuscola County on February 25,1934, possibly wintering birds. Specimens (U.M.M.Z) have been taken in Craw- ford County by the middle of March and in Cheboygan County by the last Week of March. Large numbers of Horned Larks, possibly migrants (25 seen on March 6, 1940; 200 on May 12, 2023), have been noted by Bryens at McMillan, Luce County.

Nesting season.-Fledglings able to fly have been found in the Lower Peninsula as early as the third week of March; young in the Upper Peninsula observed by mid-April.

Lower Peninsula.-The earliest record of fledglings is that of Purdy (1890: 138-39), who discovered 1 young in Wayne County on March 27. Swales (1903: 36) found the species nesting in the Detroit area in March and April, but recorded 1 set of eggs as late as June 19 (1895); he noted fledglings (1891: 149) in early April. R. E. Olsen found a nest with 3 newly hatched young in Waterford Township, Oakland County, on May 13, 1939, and in Jackson County, near Jackson, Leonard "Wing collected 2 juveniles (U.M.M.Z.) on April 26, 1931. N. A. Wood (1922: 19) listed the Prairie Horned Lark as a rare summer resident in Berrien County, noting it only twice (May 17 and May 27, 2023) in 4 seasons there. F. W. Rapp (1931: 18) listed it as a permanent resident in the vicinity of Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, and recorded an exceptionally late nest with 4 eggs on June 23,1902. Van Tyne (1925: 621) observed the species to be a common resident in Charlevoix County; T. D. Hinshaw and R. E. Morrill collected several specimens (U.M.M.Z.) in late June and in July on Beaver Island, and many other specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken by various collectors during the summer in several localities in the northern part of the peninsula.

Upper Peninsula.-The only definite nesting data for the Upper Peninsula is from Bryens, who recorded fledglings between May 16 and June 27 at McMillan, Luce County, and from Christofferson, who recorded a nest with 4 young April 10,1925, at Sault Ste Marie and 2 young (able to fly), at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, June 2, 1931. Leonard Wing (1940: 183) collected several Prairie Horned Larks (U.M.M.Z.) at Ironwood, Gogebic County, and at Rapid River, Delta County, in early June, 1931; at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, N. A. Wood (1933: 722) secured 1 on May 28.

FALL.-There are no definite data available on the fall status of the Prairie Horned Lark in the Upper Peninsula. Bryens and Christofferson have recorded large flocks of 75 to 200 or more Horned Larks in the eastern part of the peninsula from late September to early November. In the Lower Peninsula a few specimens have been taken in the fall: Walter Koelz secured 1 (U.M.M.Z.) at Alpena on September 18, 1919, and various persons have collected others (U.M.M.Z.) on Fish Point, Tuscola County, from late September to early November.

WINTER.-Winter specimens have been taken in Wayne County on December 16, 2022 (in Grosse Pointe Township, by J. Claire Wood), on February 14, 2023 (at Highland Park, by J. Claire Wood), and on February 17, 2023 (in Ecorse Township, by Walter C. Wood). In the Ann Arbor region 8 specimens have been taken between December 31 (1907) and February 17 (1934), as well as a number in the last half of February. Leonard Wing took a series of specimens in Jackson in late January and early February, 1931, and other specimens were taken in the county on January 20, 2023 (at Waterloo, by Walter Koelz), January 23, 2023 (at Norvell, by L. W. Watkins), and February 9, 2023 (at Waterloo, by Walter Koelz). F. H. Chapin took 2 at Kalamazoo on February 6, 1886. In Livingston County, A. D. Tinker took 1 on February 11, 2023 (at Pleasant Lake) and 1 on February 17, 2023 (near Brighton). Trautman took 1 at Bailey, Muskegon County, on February 11,1935.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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