Once again I was walking with my friend Annette this weekend and it appears that she knows an awful lot about birds.  As we walked along a gated road near Norton, Northamptonshire she stopped and said “listen to that Skylark”.  She then pointed it out to me as well as telling me all sorts of facts about this bird that I never knew.  Cue for this week’s education slot! 

If you are the kind of person who finds little tiny birdies absolutely adorable then skylarks are definitely your type. The Skylark is a small bird that falls into the passerine bird category. These tiny English birds are unfortunately on the red list of endangered species today.

Fact #1 – Skylarks invariable start singing before dawn, so their voice is the first to be heard in the dawn chorus.

Fact #2 – The average length of a song flight is just over two minutes, but 30-minute performances have been recorded.

Fact #3 – Song can be heard throughout the year, though it is least frequent between mid-November and late-January.

Fact #4 – Skylarks have a white mark along their tail, but also along the edge of their wings.  (I now know how to identify a Skylark!). 

Fact #5 – Skylarks make their nests on land, not in tree and they lay 3-6 eggs each June.  

Fact #6 – It also performs the most unusual flight. In this characteristic flight, the bird rises up, singing, and hovers at the same point for some time as a way of distracting predators from the nest on the ground.  Then it soars really high (up to 200m) and stops singing and once that is done, when it wants to come down it just falls back to the ground.

Fact #7 – The male Skylark can sing up to 300 syllables. How amazing is that? 

Summary

The Skylark is in serious decline (due to agricultural changes).  We have lost over 75% of Skylarks since the 1970’s which is incredibly sad.  My lessons from this particular education slot will ensure that I spend a few more minutes listening to the song of the Skylark and appreciating its beauty. 

See you next week! 

Thank you! Remember – Get Outside, Get Inspired, Go Take A Hike.