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Horned Lark

The Horned Lark is a rather unimpressive bird from a distance, easily mistaken for a sparrow, except that it walks instead of hopping. Upon close inspection its interesting black and yellow facial details become more obvious. It is a winter resident in the park, normally found feeding on snow-free patches of ground near the beach, sometimes in the company of Snow Buntings and American Pipits. Its “horns” are actually black feather tufts that form just above the yellow eyebrow. The horn feathers on this particular bird are just beginning to form and can be seen as the black spot above the rear end of the yellow brow. Even when fully formed, these feathers are often folded down and not visible as horns.
December 2003