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Living with Birds 21 Facts on Skylark Tweetapedia

21 Facts

Skylark

  1. Only the nightingale rivals the skylark’s reputation as one of the finest songsters in the bird world.
  2. The skylark’s song is fast, complex and highly variable, but (unlike the nightingale’s) it is delivered within a narrow frequency range.
  3. There can be anything from 160 to over 460 syllables in the song.
  4. While the Victorians estimated the height of the male skylark’s songflight at around 600m (2,000ft), most birds sing from around 50m and few ever go beyond 200m.
  5. The average length of a songflight is just over two minutes, but 30-minute performances have been recorded.
  6. Skylarks invariable start singing before dawn, so their voice is the first to be heard in the dawn chorus.
  7. Song can be heard throughout the year, though it is least frequent between mid-November and late-January.
  8. It is thought that more poems have been written about the skylark’s song than that of any other bird.
  9. Despite the lark’s popularity as a songbird, it has long been regarded as a delicacy on the plate, and the price of skylarks has been recorded since the reign of Edward I.
  10. In 1695, a dozen skylarks could be bought for the same price as one mallard, or 100 for the same figure as a great bustard or crane.
  11. Most larks were captured for the table by dragging nets across fields at night.
  12. Lark shooting for sport was popular in Victorian England, the birds being decoyed by either live birds or by ingenious lark mirrors, the latter drawing migrating larks within range of the guns.
  13. The record bag of larks at a single mirror in one day was over 1,000 birds.
  14. The Victorians also liked to keep male larks as songbirds, and a good singer would fetch as much as 15 shillings.
  15. Skylarks have been successfully introduced to New Zealand, Australia, Canada and even Hawaii.
  16. The decline of the skylark in Britain is attributed to the switch from spring to autumn sowing of cereals and the resulting loss of winter stubbles.
  17. The Faeroe Islands have Europe’s smallest skylark population – just 10 pairs – while Poland has the largest, an estimated 5 to 9 million pairs. Britain still has around 1 million.
  18. Almost all European countries have reported a decline in lark numbers in recent years, the result of agricultural intensification.
  19. Skylarks remain a legal quarry species in France, and they are still shot there in large numbers.
  20. The critically endangered Raso lark is a close cousin of the skylark; it is found only on one very small island in the Cape Verde group, where the population numbers around 100 birds.
  21. The skylark is one of the most widely distributed of all British birds, found from coastal dunes to the tops of the Cairngorms.
21 Facts On Skylark I1