In the Spring 2017 edition of Oregon Seed Magazine, Niles Brinton outlines his hopes for a threatened bird in the Pacific Northwest. As the Streaked Horned Lark Specialist for Pacific Birds, Niles is working as part of a lark partnership to ultimately recover the lark’s population–estimated to be only 900 to 1300 birds in the Willamette Valley. Niles stresses the importance of learning from each other, and notes the partnership is committed to seeking solutions that work for both larks and farmers.
Why farmers? Most of the Willamette Valley lark habitat consists of privately managed farmlands, where larks nest and forage during the summer breeding season. With the majority of the lark population and a landscape dominated by agriculture, Willamette Valley farmers can be key partners in the effort to de-list the lark.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a recovery plan for the Streaked Horned Lark which will guide conservation efforts to increase the population. In the meantime, Niles is seeking the low-hanging fruit and hoping to “match up the lark’s ecological preferences with what is happening on the ground in the least invasive way.” We will keep you posted about his progress!