A Lark in the Snow

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It has snowed an inch or two every day. The drifts in the future barn addition are waist deep. Tonight it is due to drop to 15° below zero F.

Yesterday morning when I hauled a loaded muck bucket to the manure pile, a little bird flew out from under the snow crust over the pile. I was extremely startled. The sky around the farm is empty these days except for the occasional passing crow or raven. I sometimes hear jays or chickadees in the state forest 100 yards away, but nothing ventures across the wide snowy fields.

I’ve never seen this species before. The little bird has been hanging out around my barnyard and manure pile ever since.

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At first I thought he was warming his toes in the steaming manure. When he followed me, fluttering through the snow, as I set out flakes of hay for the sheep and cows, I realized he was in search of seeds.

He is a Horned Lark. Or as my mother, a much better, more acute birder — and one brought up in Alabama — would have said, “A lahhk.”

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I am so glad this lark has found my hay, both the recycled and the fresh.

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Because currently most of the seeds on this farm and in this neighborhood are under two and a half feet of snow.

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