Winter diet of streaked horned larks in Oregon

In planning management of recovery efforts for sensitive species, it is essential to understand the biogeography of the focal organism and the nature of structurally appropriate habitat with adequate food resources to sustain it- in essence, understanding the ‘where’ and ‘how’ of habitat restoration efforts. In Oregon, winter biogeography of streaked horned larks (Eremophila alpestris strigata, hereafter strigata) is now understood well enough for accurate geographic focus of habitat restoration efforts (Robinson & Moore 2004; Moore 2007). Previous field work has also resulted in a basic understanding of the structur of the habitat that strigata occupies in its winter range. There is, however, an almost complete lack of knowledge of its winter diet. We undertook a project designed to promote understanding of strigata’s winter diet across its winter range south of Washington state. We identified food plant species at different wintering sites and determined the prevalence of insect prey in the winter diet of this critically sensitive species.