Birdhouses 101 - Meadowlark



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Meadowlark

About The Meadowlark

MeadowlarkThe Meadowlark is best known for its melodious song, a much appreciated addition to the beauty of the open grasslands. There are two common types of Meadowlark, the Eastern Meadowlark, and the Western Meadowlark. Between the two, there are only slight differences in appearance: The Western variety tends to be lighter in color with thinner strips of black on their tail feathers and wings, and are yellow in the throat area as opposed to the Eastern Meadowlark’s white throat stripe. Listening closely, one may be able to differentiate between the two in terms of the chirping patterns, in that a Western Meadowlark’s song tends to be more melodic and intricate. The Meadowlark measures about 6 to 10 inches from head to tail. Its bill is slim and long. These birds are found across North America, Mexico and the Bahamas.

The Meadowlark Nesting Preferences

A female Meadowlark begins building the nest on the ground with its own hoof marks or an existing dent, which she will further mold with her beak. The nest will then be lined with thin grass fibers, and a roof will be created using the surrounding foliage, forming an inverted cup. Reinforced with weaved-in dried grass pieces, this serves as the primary shield from rain and predators that may see the nest as a mere bunch of weeds. The female lays up to five eggs, mostly white. Incubation is done mostly by the female Meadowlark, lasting between 13-15 days.

Building a Birdhouse For The Meadowlark

Meadowlarks are naturally attracted to open fields with low foliage or grass cover. A birdhouse may or may not successfully attract a Meadowlark. At the start of mating season, however, a meadowlark may take up a fence post to perch on for when it sings.

The Meadowlark Mating Habits

MeadowlarkIt is normal for a male Meadowlark to have two mates at a time, even up to three for the Eastern variety. A successful mating ritual may in part be determined by a male Meadowlark’s success in reigning over a good six acres of grassland before the females arrive in the desired range. The wooing ritual then begins as the male attempts to catch the female’s attention, using its vividly colored front as attraction, while it raises its beak to boast its yellow gullet and puffed up golden chest, flapping back its wing and hovers up and down.

The Meadowlark Feeding Preferences

Meadowlarks usually find their food from the ground, digging underneath the soil. Their primary sustenance come from insects, weed seeds, berries, and grain. They may be seen digging by opening their beak with force to open up a part of the soil or uncover a concealed insect from within the stalk of a plant.

Interesting Meadowlark Facts

Bonding pairs of the Western variety fly in a chase formation that is usually initiated, and the speed of which determined, by the female Meadowlark. The male chases the female, and in cases where the male find two partners, both may take part in the formation at the same time. Meanwhile, the Eastern variety has registered about seventeen subspecies acknowledged by taxonomists. They may be found in pastures, hayfields, croplands, grasslands, and even gold courses. The Meadowlark is classified under the order of Passeriformes, family Icteridae. Scientific names are Sturnella magna (Eastern) and Sturnella neglecta (Western).

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   1/1/2007)
Great information! It really helped me with my report on the eastern meadowlark. Thank you!


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