Western Meadowlark

Oregon State Bird

bird-westernmeadowlark-03.jpg

Western meadowlark

Western meadowlark; photo by Kevin Cole on Wikipedia (use permitted with attribution).

Western Meadowlark

The western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was chosen as the state bird of Oregon in 1927 by the state's school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society. The western meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent.

In the same family as blackbirds and orioles, adults are 8-11 inches long and have a black and white striped head; a long, pointed bill; yellow cheeks; bright yellow throat; and a distinctive black "V" on breast. The western meadowlark is often seen perched on fence-posts in grasslands and agricultural areas singing its distinct 7-10 note melody (their flute-like song usually ends with 3 descending notes).

Western meadowlarks forage on the ground and beneath the soil for insects, grain and weed seeds (it's estimated that at least 65-70% of their diet consists of beetles, cutworms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, sow bugs, and snails). They also nest on the ground - constructing a cup of dried grasses and bark woven into the surrounding vegetation. This nest may be open or have a partial or full grass roof, and sometimes a grass entry tunnel several feet long.

Western meadowlark predators include hawks, crows, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and weasels. Western meadowlarks are still abundant but declining throughout their range; they are a protected non-game species.

Oregon

Images

Western meadowlark singing; photo © Andrew Williams / Critterzone: Animal Pictures, Nature Stock Photography (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Western meadowlark singing

Videos

Western Meadowlark