Roadsides are heating up…

This time of the year just driving down the Crane Lake Road will yield some interesting migrant birds.

Horned Lark

Horned Lark

Like this Horned Lark. I think this bird is sunbathing. An excerpt From Birds of North America On Line, “when sunbathing, faces the sun, fluffs feathers, turns head to the side, and looks at the sun; then holds this position for several minutes”. Last Saturday was a beautiful bright sunny day and this bird was enjoying it.

The Horned Lark is one of the LBBs (little brown birds) that make their way through our area in the Fall. They may be joined by Pipits and Longspurs in big mixed flocks that forage in the short grasses that grow by the roadside. These birds are considered grassland birds and as they migrate south in the Fall they may stray into the largely forested areas like what we have here. Just imagine a bird that’s used to foraging in the short grass prairies all of a sudden flying over the huge boreal forest that is just to our north. Crane Lake is literally at the end of the road – the closest major highway to the north would be Highway 11 in Canada – that road is 60 miles away as the Crow flies. In between is a lot of woods and water. Finally they see the paved road that leads south out of Crane Lake and the short grass that borders the road and they settle down to eat and pick grit.

As cold fronts come down from the north,¬†we’ll start seeing flocks of Juncos and then after that the Snow Buntings. Both of these birds are referred to as “Snowbirds”!

The Crane Lake road attracts many birds especially in the winter, but we’ll leave that discussion for another time. Enjoy Fall!

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3 Responses to Roadsides are heating up…

    • Vacation says:

      I saw a couple of Juncos yesterday under the bird feeders, although there are some Juncos that nest up here. It seems the nirvana we have been experiencing the entire month of September may be coming to an end this weekend. I can’t believe the calendar says it’s Fall – it’s been just like August!

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