Colorado -- Lark Bunting
#9 From a 5-state (in order), 3-day, 1600 mile road trip to CO, WY, NE, KS, and OK in June, 2015. This trip takes me from 8 to 13 states total. Pawnee Grasslands east of Fort Collins near Briggsdale, CO. In spring time these male birds fly straight up to about 20 feet and descend calling. It seems like popcorn on the prairie. This bird brings the large question of "why this bird and not some other bird as the state emblem?" It seems to me that in 1931 the population of bird-noticing Coloradans would have been largely on the agricultural lands of the plains where the LARB is numerous. The more widespread and common ravens and vultures didn't make anybody's list. But why not the lesser prairie chicken? Not enough of them around and in 1931, who had time to go off chasing rare birds instead of growing calories of foodstuffs? These birds jumped up and said howdy whereas others are a little more secretive.
Ultimately, state congresses respond to public opinion on the choice of a state bird. Many kindergartners "wrote" to the Colorado Congress and they chose a different bird, but the more skilled Audubon Society prevailed in their letter storm and lobbying. The Congress overturned the previous decision and the Lark Bunting became and remains the state bird of Colorado.