One of the most attractive, colorful, and intriguing types of birds is the Western Meadowlark. The Western Meadowlark is a songbird that is native to North America, especially the Great Plains and Northern Rockies of the United States.
They breed in the warmer regions of the continent, usually in grasslands, wetlands, or forested areas near rivers.
Table of Contents
- 1 Identification
- 2 Habitat
- 3 Songs and Sounds
- 4 Food Sources
- 5 Nesting
- 6 Migration
- 7 Predators
- 8 Lifespan
- 9 Conservation
- 10 Attracting Western Meadowlarks
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions
It can be identified by its upper body having a black and buff patterning, with a yellow under body and a large black “V” on the chest. The head has no crest, but instead has feathers that are striped white and brown.
Western Meadowlarks are very active during the day. At night, they stay quiet and move slowly into cover.
- Length: 6.5-10.5 in (16.5-26.7 cm)
- Weight: 3.0-4.0 oz (85-113 g)
- Wingspan: 16.0 in (40.5 cm)
As for its habitat, this bird likes open areas with plenty of trees and shrubs, open water, and even open fields. These are usually found on the coast or in forested areas in the south and in Alaska.
It is also the most commonly found birds in Western North America and Canada as well as coastal regions in Mexico. In fact, it is one of the fastest-moving birds in these areas. The only part of Mexico where it is not found is in the mountains.
Songs and Sounds
The Western Meadowlarks are not as vocal as other songbirds. Unlike most singing birds, it makes only a soft noise or a few chirps when disturbed.
When they do sing their sound is very distinctive. It has a high-pitched singing, which is distinct and is usually repeated in a number of different ways. This helps it blend in with its surroundings.
Meadowlarks are ground-feeding birds that eat a variety of foods to stay healthy. The Meadowlark bird’s diet is generally comprised of insects, and it feeds on ants, grasshoppers, crickets, carpenter ants, flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, and other insects.
It also eats berries, pine cones, acorns, and seeds. They have also been seen eating seed pods from dead plants or harvested cornfields.
It nests on the ground, usually near moist areas such as wetlands or creeks. They like to use hollow logs, rock crevices, and hollowed out trees. Sometimes they will nest in other birdhouses or old birdhouses.
Meadowlarks lay 4-6 eggs that take 16 days to hatch. They are generally monogamous and mate for life, but sometimes breed with another male if their partner dies or disappears during incubation.
These birds are known to be fairly territorial during breeding season, often times chasing off other males and defending their territory from predators like coyotes or foxes.
The Western Meadowlark is a migratory bird, meaning it spends its winters in the Southern United States and Mexico. The birds migrate back to their summer habitat in Canada during late April or early May. This means that the length of migration for these birds ranges from five months (winter) to nine months (summer).
The Western Meadowlark migrates by following rivers up into Canada and across plains states like Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
In winter, this bird migrates southward to warmer climates of southern Arizona, New Mexico, and California.
Western meadowlarks are often targeted by predators. Some of the most common Western meadowlark predators include owls, cats, snakes, eagles, raccoons, coyotes, weasels and even hawks.
In order to protect themselves from predators they use a distracting singing technique where they will make a short sound with an incomplete or unusual trill pattern before continuing on with the usual song pattern.
As long as the Western Meadowlarks are fed properly, and if their nesting territory is not disturbed, their population will likely not decline. They have a lifespan of 2-4 years in the wild, but they can live up to 10 years in captivity.
The western meadowlark is not endangered and is of the least concern because populations have been increasing. Many birds are considered to be in danger of extinction due to humans, but this is not true for the Western Meadowlark.
This bird species has been classified as a least concern on the IUCN Red List since 1994 because their population has steadily increased over time. The most common cause of mortality for these birds are from predators such as hawks and owls.
Attracting Western Meadowlarks
Western Meadowlarks are common residents of many urban habitats including parks, golf courses, yards, pastures, fields and shrub lands. If you’re looking to attract them to your yard follow the 10 tips below. The following products have direct links to Amazon.
3) Spread wheat or cracked corn on the ground or on a platform bird feeder to lure them closer for more interaction.
4) Place nest boxes in your backyard, and keep an eye on it.
5) Plant native flowers in your garden such as Russian sage, goldenrod, purple prairie, yarrow, cattails, milkweed, jewel weed, thistle fennel, and aster.
6) Plant seeds of fruit trees like apple or cherry.
7) One great idea is using one or two brightly colored pieces of fruit that are hard to miss, such as blueberries, raspberries, blueberry berry, blueberry, blackberry, cranberry, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes.
8) Provide a shallow water source like a bird bath or pond: The bird will need to bathe in order to keep cool during the summer months when it is most active.
9) Add large piles of brush or logs on the ground
10) One of the most important things you have to remember is that you have to be consistent with the whole process. No matter what type of bird you are trying to attract.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Western Meadowlark known for?
The Western Meadowlark is also known for its beautiful feathers, which are often displayed during mating season to attract females.
Do female Western Meadowlarks sing?
Female western meadowlarks do not sing. The males have a distinct, clear song that they repeat over and over again while in their territory. They also will respond to other males with the same song, as well as give out a few short phrases if another male intrudes on their territory. Females can be heard making some vocalizations when they are feeding or sitting on eggs, but otherwise, they do not sing at all.
What is the class of the Western Meadowlark?
The Western meadowlark’s class is “Aves”, of the order “Passeriformes”, and it belongs to the family “Icteridae”.
Are Western Meadowlarks rare?
Western meadowlarks are often seen in the wild. However, they can be difficult to spot due to their shy and reclusive nature. There is a concern that the number of Western meadowlarks has been decreasing in recent years. This is thought to be due to habitat loss and fragmentation as well as increased predation from non-native animals such as cats and foxes which were introduced by humans into their environment.
Do Western Meadowlarks eat other birds?
Western Meadowlarks have a diet consisting of insects, seeds, and grains. In some instances, they will also eat carcasses of various small birds.