[birding] Request for volunteers to patrol for Horned Larks wearing "bangles"

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Thu Nov 20 11:32:19 PST 2014


Volunteers are needed to search for color-banded Horned Larks in the
mid- and southern Willamette Valley.

This is part of a volunteer project, in support of researchers in
Washington and Oregon, to identify wintering locations for two specific
populations of the federally threatened Streaked Horned Larks: (1) the
South Puget Sound prairies, and (2) Corvallis Airport.

Researchers have been fitting hundreds of young larks with colored
plastic leg bands, so that if someone sees one, it will be possible to
know exactly where they hatched. Now we need to find them!

There are two ways to help with this project:

1. THE EASY WAY TO HELP: JUST LET US KNOW IF YOU SEE LARKS!

        If you happen to see a flock of Horned Larks anywhere in the
        Willamette Valley, please let me know WHEN and WHERE you saw
        them, and if possible, a rough indication of their numbers. 
        
        Please give the approximate distance and direction from the
        nearest intersection. If you know how to record GPS coordinates,
        that works too, but don't worry about getting too fancy -- the
        larks are sure to move around!
        
        Here's an example of a report that would work just fine:
        
        "Yesterday I saw about a dozen larks a quarter mile west of Hwy
        99W, on the north side of Coville Rd." 

2. THE MORE INVOLVED WAY TO HELP: GO ON LARK PATROL!

        Let me know if you're interested in the more detailed surveys,
        and I'll send you information on how to do more detailed
        surveys, including how to document color-banded larks if you
        find one, and how to distinguish Streaked Horned Larks from
        other types.
        
        I'll also send you a list of locations where there have been
        recent sightings of lark flocks. You can pick out one or several
        sites to follow up on. 
        
        The goal is to make sure that each site gets visited at least
        twice within a month after the initial report, and try to get
        good looks at all of the larks that are present.
        
        A spotting scope and/or camera with a high-powered lens will be
        very helpful for this part of the project. In most cases, you'll
        be scanning fields from along rural roads.


Observations of color-banded larks will go to the Center for Public
Lands Management researchers in Washington, and to Dr. Randy Moore at
OSU. They have different banding systems, so in most cases we'll know
right away whether the larks came from the Puget Sound, or from
Corvallis Airport. 

Overall results of this project will be reported next spring in the
newsletters for the local Audubons (Salem, Corvallis, and Lane County).

This project will run from now through March, so please contact me
whenever you'll have time for "Lark Patrol," or whenever you spot a
flock of larks while you're out birding! As further incentive, there
could be some Snow Buntings or longspurs in with some of these flocks!

Thanks & happy birding,
Joel

--
Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis
541 745-5821





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