Western Meadowlark - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Western Meadowlark - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Western Meadowlark - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Western Meadowlark - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Western Meadowlark
Sturnella neglecta

Blackbirds
Blackbird Family (Icteridae)

Size: Length: 21.5-28 cm

Description: The song of the western meadowlark is synonymous with the prairies. It is rarely seen in the Rockies, but occasionally makes forays into the high country. It has been recorded nesting in Banff and Kananaskis, but no nesting records exist north of Saskatchewan River Crossing. Very distinctive, it has a long beak, a black crown with a buffy median strip, and a black eye streak. The eyebrow line is yellow towards the beak, fading to white beyond the eye. The cheeks are brown the throat, chest and belly are yellow. Beneath the throat, there is a narrow, black chest band. The back, wings and tail are brown, streaked with black and buff. The outer tail feathers are gray, visible when the bird takes flight.

Meadowlarks are often seen clutching blowing grasses while they sing their sweet call, a series of 7 or 8 warbling notes. The first note is low, the second higher, the third low again and the fourth higher. The remainder of the notes vary. It almost resembles (musically) do re do re re me do. Their main diet includes grasshoppers, spiders and other ground dwelling insects, along with some seeds. The nest is on the ground, well hidden within the grasses, often with a domed roof. It is usually made of grasses and weeds, so is very difficult to spot amidst similar live plants.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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