STREAKED HORNED LARK CONSERVATION

Photo – David Leonard, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Streaked Horned Lark is a ground-dwelling songbird found on wide-open landscapes west of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington. Their natural habitat includes prairies, sandy river islands, and ocean beaches, but many of these habitats have been altered or degraded and no longer support larks. The current populations of Streaked Horned Larks are mostly found in farmlands in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, grasslands in the Puget Sound lowlands, “dredge” islands in the Columbia River, and coastal beaches in Washington.

Originally found from western British Columbia south through the Rogue River Valley of Oregon, the lark’s range has shrunk and the population has declined precipitously. It is believed that less than 2,000 individual birds remain.

In October 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Streaked Horned Lark as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act. Implementing conservation actions now will hopefully prevent the lark’s status changing to “endangered”.

To stem this declining trend, Pacific Birds has joined with the American Bird Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U. S. Army, and the Oregon Farm Bureau in a collaborative lark partnership. The aim is to conserve lark habitat on both private and public lands.

In the Willamette Valley, farmers are key to these conservation efforts, as larks and farms can coexist with management that includes “lark friendly” farming practices. The partnership is working on outreach and incentives to encourage the conservation of lark habitat using voluntary measures on agricultural and other private lands.

Habitat in Oregon
Photo – Cat Brown, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

DID YOU KNOW?

Those flocks of birds moving between farms during the winter may contain Streaked Horned Larks. Wintering birds rely heavily on seeds.


For more information about the lark partnership, contact Niles Brinton, the Streaked Horned Lark Specialist at Pacific Birds.