Home Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History Home
Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

McCown's Longspur

Capt. Lewis, June 4, 1805--In these plains I observed . . .   also a small bird which in action resembles the lark, it is about the size of a large sparrow of a dark brown colour with some white fathers in the tail; this bird or that which I take to be the male rises into the air about 60 feet and supporting itself in the air with a brisk motion of the wings sings very sweetly, has several shrill soft notes reather of the plaintive order which it frequently repeats and varies, after remaining stationary about a minute in his aireal station he descends obliquely occasionaly pausing and accomnying his decension with a note something like twit twit twit; on the ground he is silent. thirty or forty of these birds will be stationed in the air at a time in view. these larks as I shall call them add much to the gayety and cheerfullness of the scene. All those birds are now seting and laying their eggs in the plains; their little nests are to be seen in great abundance as we pass. there are meriads of small grasshoppers in these plains which  no doubt furnish the principal aliment of this numerous progeny of the feathered creation.
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice