What is the Montana State Bird?
The western meadowlark is the state bird of Montana. The western meadowlark was selected as the official state bird of Montana in 1931. The Western meadowlark is a very well-known songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of North America.The western meadowlark is in the same family as orioles and blackbirds. The adult western meadowlarks have a striped head which is black and white. They have long, pointed bill. They also have yellow cheeks. Their throat is bright yellow and they have a unique black “V” on the breast. Western meadowlarks feed on the ground and beneath for grain, insects and weed seeds. They also nest on the ground sometimes.
They construct a cup of dehydrated grasses and bark knitted into the neighboring undergrowth. This nest may be exposed or have a half or full grassy top. Sometimes the grassy entrance channel to their nest is made several feet long. The western meadowlark is seen hovering on fence-posts in agricultural areas. It is often heard singing its unique 7-10 note melody. Western meadowlark’s enemies include skunks, raccoons, hawks, crows, coyotes, and weasels.
State Bird of Montana Facts —
- Common name: Western Meadowlark
- Scientific name: Sturnellaneglecta
- Habitat: grassland, prairies, pastures and abandoned fields
- Diet: insects, seeds and berries
- Song and Calls: low, bell-like pluk or Chupp which they use when disturbed and during courtship and territorial displays. Females give off a low-intensity tee-tee-tee when building the nest and laying eggs.
- Weight: 89-115 g
- Length: 16-26 cm
- Wingspan: 41cm
- Average lifespan: 5-6 years
- Incubation period: 13-16 days
Missouri’s state bird Western Meadowlark is the state bird of six states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. The Western Meadowlark or Sturnellaneglecta is a very famous bird of the West. It is undoubtedly one of the most attractive species in the family of the blackbird. The nest of the Western Meadowlark frequently is protected by a grass rooftop partially. It can be totally open or it can have a thorough roof and an entry tunnel several feet lengthy.
An adult male Western Meadowlark generally has two companions at the same time. The female birds do all the incubating and brooding. They do most of the feeding of the baby birds. The state bird of Montana, the Western Meadowlark looks almost identical to the Eastern Meadowlark but the two species crossbreed only very infrequently. At the brink of the range where few companions are available, mixed pairs typically occur there. It is found by the captive breeding experimentations that hybrid meadowlarks were productive, but they produced limited eggs that hatched. Meriwether Lewis the explorer was the first man to draw attention to the understated differences between the birds that would sooner or later be known as the Eastern and Western Meadowlarks. He notes in June 1805 that the tail and bill shapes, as well as the song of the Western Meadowlark, varied from what was then known as the “Oldfield lark” in the Eastern United States. The Western Meadowlark’s scientific name, Sturnella or “starling-like” neglect was given by John James Audubon.
He claimed that most explorers and settlers who ventured west of the Mississippi after Lewis and Clark had overlooked this common bird. California farmers introduced one of the earliest studies of the Western Meadowlark’s diet in 1914 to fix whether the bird could be titled as a pest species. They eat grain but Western Meadowlarks also help lessen the numbers of crop-destructing insects. Like other fellows of the blackbird family, The Meadowlarks employs a feeding behavior called “gaping”. It means relying on the extraordinarily strong muscles that open the bill. They insert their bill into the earth, bark or other places, then they force open to make a hole. This offers meadowlarks total entrance to the world of insects and other food objects that most birds can’t reach easily.
Their average lifespan is 5-6 years. The oldest recorded Western Meadowlark was at least 6 years, 6 months old when it was found in Colorado. The meadowlark is an omnivore. Its natural predators are skunks, foxes, hawks, coyotes, raccoons, and domestic cats and dogs. A meadowlark’s eggs are white with brown and purple blemishes.
The law designating the western meadowlark as the official Montana state bird is Section 1-1-504 (State bird) of the Montana Code Annotated, Title 1 (GENERAL LAWS AND DEFINITIONS) Chapter 1 (GENERAL PROVISIONS) Part 5 (State Symbols – Official Designations) Section 1-1-504.