The title of this chapter comes from a phrase I have heard Stuart Houston use again and again in trying to describe the experience of standing on the prairie beneath a skyful of larking longspurs, Sprague's pipits, and lark buntings. It is one of those moments in nature that does not yield well to words, but the sense of a canopy made of song is helpful. Stuart relates the story of how prairie naturalists came together to form the Saskatchewan Natural History Society in 1949, with Isabel Priestley of Yorkton leading the way. Here is some more history on this group, now known as Nature Saskatchewan, but still one of the best naturalist groups on the Great Plains.
Image courtesy of Jared Clarke
The bird profile that follows this chapter features my favourit buteo hawk, the Ferruginous. I have had several reports of Ferruginous Hawks returning to their nests in the past couple of weeks. They seem to come about the time the Richardson's ground squirrels emerge from their winter burrows.