MeadowLark…

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Cool Facts

  • The nest of the Western Meadowlark usually is partially covered by a grass roof. It may be completely open, however, or it may have a complete roof and an entrance tunnel several feet long.
  • Although the Western Meadowlark looks nearly identical to the Eastern Meadowlark, the two species hybridize only very rarely. Mixed pairs usually occur only at the edge of the range where few mates are available. Captive breeding experiments found that hybrid meadowlarks were fertile, but produced few eggs that hatched.
  • A male Western Meadowlark usually has two mates at the same time. The females do all the incubation and brooding, and most of the feeding of the young.
  • The explorer Meriwether Lewis was the first to point out the subtle differences between the birds that would eventually be known as the Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, noting in June 1805 that the tail and bill shapes as well as the song of the Western Meadowlark differed from what was then known as the “oldfield lark” in the Eastern United States.
  • John James Audubon gave the Western Meadowlark its scientific name, Sturnella(starling-like) neglecta, claiming that most explorers and settlers who ventured west of the Mississippi after Lewis and Clark had overlooked this common bird.
  • In 1914, California grain growers initiated one of the earliest studies of the Western Meadowlark’s diet to determine whether the bird could be designated a pest species. Although they do eat grain, Western Meadowlarks also help limit numbers of crop-damaging insects.
  • Like other members of the blackbird, or icterid, family, meadowlarks use a feeding behavior called “gaping,” which relies on the unusually strong muscles that open their bill. They insert their bill into the soil, bark or other substrate, then force it open to create a hole. This gives meadowlarks access to insects and other food items that most birds can’t reach.
  • The Western Meadowlark is the state bird of six states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Only the Northern Cardinal is a more popular civic symbol, edging out the meadowlark by one state.
  • More information can be found here

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15 comments on “MeadowLark…

  1. HansHB says:

    beautiful serie, love it!

  2. Margaret says:

    HI Erin What a stunning little bird adn great shots of it.

  3. Brian King says:

    Beautiful shots, Erin! I’ve never taken any decent photos of Meadowlarks.

  4. Adam Jones says:

    Great Pictures.

  5. Eileen says:

    The Meadowlarks are beautiful birds, I love the bright yellow. Great shots and post.

  6. Beautiful…oh so beautiful.
    I can hear it singing right now, in my mind, as I view the fantastic photo shares this week!!!

  7. Pat says:

    Beautiful captures.

  8. Delightful photos of this beauty!

  9. I’m glad they studied them instead of declaring them a nuisance. We’ve caused the extinction or near-extinction of too many animals.

  10. wallacejones says:

    And don’t you love hearing that crystal-clear pure song! Great series of images and very interesting information!

  11. Neil says:

    Nice series.

  12. dianaed2013 says:

    Thank you so much – good photos and such interesting information

  13. i thoroughly enjoyed the information you’ve given on the western meadowlark and i simply love those first two pictures. we have the eastern meadowlark. i could listen to it call out forever. it has a distinct call. i’ve been seeing them around for sometime now that spring has come. i’m still looking for the weather feel spring like though. at least the sun is shining today. hope all is well. have a great weekend~

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