THE SKYLARK AND HER ENEMY
THERE are a great many larks near our home. They sing so
gaily in the morning as we go to school. But they sing
much earlier than that.
We wanted once to try if we could get up before the
lark. So we agreed to meet at five o'clock in the
morning, in the meadow where one has been singing all
this year. We heard him before we got out of the lane.
There he was, rising up into the air, going a little to
the right, and then a little to the left, rising and
singing all the time, as if he wanted to wake all the
world with joy.
THE LARK SOARING.
 We watched him till he was quite a tiny speck in the
sky. The he came down again. When he was only a few
feet from the ground he shut his wings and dropped into
The next morning we went at four o'clock. That lark was
not singing, but one in the next field was rising up as
gay as a lark could be. Then our mothers said we must
not get up any earlier. So we could not rise before the
We caught a lark once to look at it, and then let it
fly away again. It is not a gay bird. It has brown
wings marked with dark streaks. Its breast and throat
are a dull white, dotted with brown spots, and it has a
white streak above its eye. Its feet are curious. The
toes lie flat on the ground, and the hind toe has a
very long claw. If you watch a lark you will see that
he runs, he does not hop. Neither does he perch in the
trees, and only sometimes on a low bush. He lives on
the ground, except when he rises up to sing.
In the winter, as we go to school, we see large flocks
of larks in the fields, looking for insects, and seeds
of wheat and oats. When we come near them, they get up,
a few at a time, and fly away a little further. Then
they wheel round and settle down to feed.
In the winter they scarcely ever sing. It
 is in the spring, when they pair, that they sing so
About March we can often find a lark's nest hidden in
the grass. They build in a rut, or a little hollow in
the ground, often in the middle of the field. They line
the nest with dry grass, and lay four or five eggs in
it. The eggs are a dirty grey colour with brown spots
on them, and they lie very snugly in the thick tufts of
When the lark comes down after singing he does not drop
close to the nest but a little way off. The he runs up
to the nest through the grass. This is because he is
afraid that the sparrow-hawk might see the nest, and
pounce on the little ones.
The sparrow-hawk is the lark's great enemy.
 One day we were looking at lark rising up, and all at
once we saw a sparrow-hawk just going to pounce upon
it. The lark saw him too, and darted up faster than the
hawk could soar. Then the hawk flew away a little and
hovered about till the lark was tired and was obliged
to come down. Then once more the hawk tried to pounce.
But the lark was too clever for him. He closed his
wings and dropped right down into the thick grass, and
the hawk could not find him. We were glad the little
lark was safe, and got back to his wife and little
A LARK ESCAPING FROM A HAWK.