what’s colorado’s state bird

Mature lark bunting in Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado. Photo © Henry Detwiler / Southwest Birders (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Mature lark bunting in Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado. Photo © Henry Detwiler / Southwest Birders (all rights reserved; used by permission).

To most people, theres nothing really special about the lark bunting, which the May/June, 1931 Denver Municipal Facts described as, “…a rather non-descript black and white bird about six to seven inches long.”

As an astute marketer, Langdon could turn any perceived shortcomings of Lark Bunting into compelling arguments in its favor.

The Lark Bunting has experienced a significant decline in its habitat over the past 92 years, much like many other prairie dwellers. The enormous grasslands it once called home have been drastically diminished by the ongoing intrusion of people, technology, and structures. The Lark Bunting is described as “widespread but uncommon” by the Audubon Society, and it seems about right. Despite being a mystery to the majority of Colorado residents, this unusual bird has rightfully earned its place among our state’s symbols. It supposedly represents Colorado.

Colorado schoolchildren chose the state emblems, which include the blue spruce tree and the columbine. Therefore, it was not shocking at all when a Larimer County representative showed state legislators a survey asking students to choose which bird should be Colorado’s official bird. What was very surprising were the results. 34 distinct birds were mentioned by the 2,281 children surveyed; however, the hitherto unidentified Lark Bunting outperformed them all, receiving a full 60% of the vote.

A few months later, Trail and Timberline, the journal of the Colorado Mountain Club, was less generous. In its June 1931 issue, a Trail and Timberline editorial lambasted the lawmakers wisdom saying, “A lark bunting is unknown — unknown to ninety percent of Colorado citizens, unknown also to a large percentage of the state senators and representatives who voted it as our state bird.”

FAQ

What is Colorado state bird and flower?

The flag, seal, flower (Colorado blue columbine), bird (lark bunting), and tree (Colorado blue spruce) are some of the major state symbols of Colorado.

What does the lark bunting symbolize?

Outstanding black and white contrast favored the black-billed magpie and the lark bunting. In the end the choice came down to symbolism. The lark bunting epitomized the cheerful, positive, optimistic spirit of the state and its citizens.

What is the state animal in Colorado?

Grant signed the proclamation admitting Colorado to the Union on August 1, 1876. Animal: Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). Known for their agility and balance, the sheep are found only in the Rockies, usually above timberline in rugged mountainous areas.

What is Colorado’s state reptile?

The 4th graders began to promote its adoption as Colorado’s reptile in 2007, completed the necessary legal steps, and the governor signed HB 08-1017 on March 18, 2008, naming the Western Painted Turtle as Colorado’s state reptile.