My friend suggested that I go back and I did a few days later and as luck had it , they were nowhere to be seen. i tried again a few days later, but no luck. We then had several snows and periods of rainy weather so I did not return. In early April, my friend asked if I had ever gotten a picture, and told me he was seeing them frequently in the same area. I went back, and in only a few minutes, there they were, running up and down the now mounded rows. After carefully checking my camera settings, I took a large number of shots using my 400mm f2.8 lens and Canon 7D Mark II camera. These turned out very well!
I don’t think the Horned Lark is a bird that many of us have seen and identified as such, even though it is abundant, because we likely ID it as some sort of sparrow. It is larger than a savannah sparrow, but smaller than an Eastern Meadowlark. Its coloration is similar to a Killdeer, but it is about half that bird’s size. The Lark has a neat yellow face with a curving black stripe from front to back of the head, ending on each backside with small “horns”, which are tufts of black feathers. There is a back patch on the chest. Back coloration is light brown to rusty.
They range nation wide, and are found year round in our area, but are more plentiful in winter. They are very social , forming large flocks outside breeding season. Female builds nest and performs courting displays to attract the male. Nests made of grass in fields with short growth. They will have 2-5 eggs with a 12 day incubation, and will fledge in 10 days. They feed on seeds and small insects.
Look for them in eastern N.C. in freshly plowed fields in winter and early spring. The pics below were taken on April 9. There are a couple which show the “Horns"