Hark! Is that the snow-favoring greater Western mottled spring lark in his native habitat? And with a baby! What a lucky spring day this is.
Hark! Is that the snow-favoring greater Western mottled spring lark in his native habitat? And with a baby! What a lucky spring day this is. ( Helen H. Richardson )

Spring has sprung into the heads of Boulderites, spurring a slew of spacey, spazzy ...

Alliteration?

Wait, was I talking? Sorry, got distracted looking out the window and thinking about disappearing between some Flatirons for the rest of the day.

It's supposed to be sunny and 69 degrees in Boulder today. Who cares if the official equinox is next week? It feels like spring now.

Plus, if you look around Boulder, you'll notice another sign of spring: the emergence of the greater Western mottled spring lark.

This species appears in Boulder every spring. Perhaps you have seen it in one of these natural habitats for mottled spring larks:

Foothills trails

Wet trails heading into the forested foothills? Well, sensible and patient hikers and mountain bikers are playing it cool through mud season, trying to preserve and whatnot.

But the mottled spring lark must ride or hike now and even enjoys being covered in mud. Look for these larks slipping around on higher trails that have both snow and snowmelt.

Some larks still prefer sunny, drier trails at this time of the year. You'll know these by their spring call of "WOOOOOOOOOOOO" or "aaaoooooOOOOOOOOhh yeah!"

Crags

Many larks enjoy sunny crags in the winter. On the coldest days, if the sun comes out, research has shown that some male larks will rip off their T-shirts, don a knit beanie and climb on the rocks all day long, displaying their bulging pale pecks in the hopes of attracting a mate.


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On warm spring days, though, those larks who chose an indoor life over the winter re-emerge from Boulder's climbing gyms for the annual migration onto real rock. The spring migration is a glorious thing to see, what with the brightly colored displays of climbing-gear plumage and cheering of larks from the ground for those above on the rock, in lark camaraderie.

Roads

After a long winter of running on treadmills, the lark likes to get out and stretch its legs.

A favorite early-spring pastime of the lark is to dig through a drawer for a pair of extra-short running shorts (in some cases, they needn't dig far, because they last used them when it was 20 and snowing) and gleefully show off those gleaming-white lark legs.

These larks can appear anywhere -- your neighborhood, campus, the grocery store, where they go for lark-fuel -- so keep sunglasses handy at all times in early spring.

Snow slopes

Finally, you might see the greater Western mottled spring lark while skiing or snowboarding.

This lark is distinguishable by its bare arms on warm, sunny days. On the warmest days, female larks might even be spotted skiing or riding in sports bras or bikinis.

The favorite food of the snow-favoring lark is corn; researchers have documented many instances of larks discussing, in their specialized language, their hunger for "corn snow."

If you encounter this lark, please keep your hands and feet away from its mouth and stay clear of the most direct route to the ski lift.