Range, abundance and habitat associations of streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) during winter

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) was recently placed on the Federal Candidate Species List because of concerns that the subspecies had declined precipitously across its range. Formerly found throughout the lowland Pacific Northwest, including coastal Oregon and Washington and riverine Valleys in those states, the breeding range of the subspecies is now restricted primarily to coastal Washington, prairie remnants in western Washington, and the Columbia and Willamette River valleys in Oregon. Few data on habitat use, reproductive success, or population estimates have been generated from the breeding season. Available data suggested small numbers breed in Washington and about 200 pairs may breed in western Oregon (Altman 1999, Pearson 2003).

Most subspecies of horned lark migrate after breeding to more temperate climates. However, the wintering range of Streaked Horned Lark had not been clearly delineated. We conducted winter surveys throughout lowland habitats of western Oregon and Washington to determine if Streaked Horned Larks winter in their breeding range, to estimate total numbers of over-wintering birds, to determine if other subspecies also
over-winter with Streaked Horned Larks, and to identify the habitats used by Streaked Horned Larks during winter. Here, we outline the primary findings from our surveys during the winter of 2003-2004.