Western Meadowlark

This gallery contains 2 photos. Although I have heard their beautiful song before (thanks to quite a few birdsong mobile apps)–a liquid, warbling melody that has made them the state birds in six American states–this is the first time I have seen a Western Meadowlark, and up close, too.

Western Meadowlark
like Red-Winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks will let you get quite close to them.
f/7.1, 500mm, 1/800, ISO 800, flash on

My first thought was that their bill and facial structure resembled [Red-Winged] Blackbirds–which is not coincidental, since they are members of the blackbird family. What also fascinated me was that they appeared to be transitioning into breeding plumage–even though we were in the first month of winter! We spotted 8-10 of them along 72nd Street and the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area, roosting in the trees and fields before one of three Short-Eared Owls gave chase. Photographed on January 22.

Western Meadowlark
these ground foragers spent quite a bit of time up in the trees and perched on the tops of rushes.
f/7.1, 500mm, 1/800, ISO 800, flash on

Some of you may have grown up hearing these sweet singers in your backyard. It may be a bittersweet memory now, because sadly, like so many other bird species in North America, the Western Meadowlarks are in a state of decline due to loss of habitat. Read more here.

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29 thoughts on “Western Meadowlark

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