American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Eurasian Skylark – Quebec

On May 6, Nathalie Rondeau discovered a Eurasian Skylark at Saint-Damien, Lanaudière, Quebec. This is a 1st provincial record and, perhaps most notably, the 1st record of this species in the eastern part of the continent. Subsequent analysis has suggested that this is a skylark of the Eurasian subspecies arvensis, rather than one of the East Asian subspecies, pekinensis, which occurs uncommonly in western Alaska and rarely along the Pacific coast.

The bird was seen in farm fields just to the northwest of Lake Maskinongé, along Chemin Beauparlant. It was present for 2 days but has not been seen since.

Eurasian Skylark is an intermittent migrant in western Alaska, primarily in spring, with additional records of likely vagrant birds in British Columbia and California, the latter of which returned for 6 consecutive years. Records on the west coast are puzzling given the introduced population of Eurasian Skylark on Vancouver Island. Those birds represent the European subspecies and are, at least theoretically, distinguishable from vagrants from Asia. There seems little reason to wonder about this Quebec bird, however, as it fits right in to a classic pattern of spring overshoots of Eurasian birds in eastern Canada.