I often see these little, brown birds in small flocks in the wintertime and it is easy to assume it is a flock of sparrows. At closer observation and checking the habitat, I realize it is not a sparrow at all but a Horned Lark. Glassing with binoculars, a yellow throat and black mask becomes apparent. This is a resilient bird spending it’s day in open, windblown areas looking for seed and grit. Often easy to overlook, they will stop in action as you pass, camouflaging themselves by looking like rocks. A widespread and permanent resident of Wyoming, they do not migrate south to warmer weather. Instead they like the open, windswept areas where they forage for food. I have found them in small groups and impressive, large flocks here in Wyoming in the wintertime.
I recently watched and photographed a small group on a cold and windy day. They tended to keep their heads pointing into the wind and watched for small seeds to be blown their way. I hunkered down with my camera using the car as a wind block and enjoyed the last sunshine of the day which put my birds in great, evening light. The difficulty of the photography was not only the cold digits of my hands but the little guys were constantly moving, making sharp focus difficult. This small bird has gained my full respect, enduring and even thriving in the cold, windy weather of our Wyoming winters.