Western Meadowlark Is The Official State Bird Of Oregon. The western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was Adopted as the Oregon State Bird in 1927 by the state’s school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society. The western meadowlark is a symbol of the American Great Plains and the West. Known and loved for its beautiful and complex song. The National Bird Of Oregon Western Meadowlark is a medium-sized icterid bird, about 8.5 in (22 cm) long.
Western Meadowlark 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. Oregon State Bird has distinctive calls described as watery or flute-like, which distinguish it from the closely related Eastern Meadowlark. The Western Meadowlark is probably the most common prairie bird visitors will observe along with the loops in the Great Plains Trail. The bright yellow breast with the “V” is very distinctive, plus the male enjoys perching on fence posts which makes this bird quite visible.
Surprisingly, meadowlarks are members of the Blackbird Family. The male National Bird Of Oregon Western Meadowlark will have up to 3 females in his territory of about 7 acres during the summer breeding season. During the winter, State Bird Of Oregon meadowlarks eat seeds off the ground. During the rest of the year, they pick off insects and spiders from plants as they walk slowly through the prairie.
Characteristics of the Western Meadowlark:
- Length: 8.5 inches
- Sharply-pointed bill
- Buff and brown head stripes
- Yellow underparts with black “v” on breast
- White flanks with black streaks
- Brown upperparts with black streaks
- Brown tail with white outer tail feathers
- Juvenile and winter plumages somewhat duller
- Frequents open habitats
Oregon State Bird Meadowlarks are ground nesters. They weave dried grasses into a bowl shape, typically within a larger grass clump for shelter and camouflage. An average of 5 eggs are laid and they may have two clutches per year.
The majority of Meadowlark’s food during the growing season is insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. Some seeds are eaten also, and that becomes the bulk of their food in the winter.