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USA (national)

Montana State Bird

Western meadowlark singing  - click to see all state birds
Western meadowlark singing; photo © Andrew Williams / Critterzone: Animal Pictures, Nature Stock Photography (used by permission). All State Birds - National Bird.

Western Meadowlark

Western meadowlark video

The western meadowlark was designated the official state bird of Montana in 1931 (see list of all state birds). Chosen (overwhelmingly) by Montana's school childrento represent the state, the Western Meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent.

In the same family as blackbirds and orioles, adults have a black and white striped head; long, pointed bill; yellow cheeks; bright yellow throat; and a distinctive black "V" on breast. The western meadowlark is often seen perched on fence-posts in grasslands and agricultural areas singing its distinct 7-10 note melody (their flute-like song usually ends with 3 descending notes).

Western Meadowlark singing - click to see all state birds
Western Meadowlark; photo © Richard Mousel / CritterZone:
Animal - Wildlife - Nature Stock Photography (used by permission).

Western meadowlarks forage on the ground and beneath the soil for insects, grain and weed seeds (it's estimated that at least 65-70% of their diet consists of beetles, cutworms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, sow bugs, and snails). They also 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.

Western meadowlark predators include hawks, crows, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and weasels. Western meadowlarks are still abundant but declining throughout their range; they are a protected non-game species.

Western Meadowlark - click to see all state birds
Western Meadowlark photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All State Birds.
Source:
State Bird (Western Meadowlark: Montana Kids
Western Meadowlark: Idaho Museum of Natural History
Western Meadowlark: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Links:
All State Birds - National Bird

    

 

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The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible
The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible:

Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife - National Wildlife Federation
Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife

Western Meadowlark Video

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