and a sputtering rattle: brtbrtttttttt! Diet: Insects, especially grasshoppers and crickets, as well as insect larvae and grubs. Its colorful plumage, slender sharp bill, and sweet, gurgled song hint strongly at its close kinship with orioles and blackbirds. Clutch Size: Ranges from 3 to 6 eggs, with 5 egg clutches most common. He also publishes feature articles in state and national magazines and has written four books: "Texas Wildlife Portfolio," "Texas Gulf Coast Impressions," "Backroads of the Texas Hill Country" and "Enjoying Big Bend National Park." The songs are quite different, as are the call notes. Western Meadowlark - More at All About Birds. The Eastern Meadowlark was first described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758, but was mistakenly labeled as being found in "America, Africa." Somehow, the male knows which female is responding to his song, and the two pair up and stay together throughout nest building and chick rearing. The birds themselves sing from fenceposts and telephone lines or stalk through the grasses, probing the ground for insects with their long, sharp bills. Both species are declining in population because of the loss of prairie habitat. But meadowlarks are members of the New World family of blackbirds and orioles. The clear, plaintive, sliding song of the Eastern Meadowlark is a welcomed sign of spring. The Eastern meadowlark seems to have a flute for voice. He likely made this mistake because of the remarkable resemblance with the Cape and Yellow-throated Longclaws found in Africa. The female builds a nest by weaving grasses into the shape of a bowl, often installing a cover like a lid on top. They’ll poke their pointed beaks into the ground and then open the beaks like a pair of scissors to gouge a hole to find insects and worms. They scrounge the ground for insects such as grasshoppers or crickets and also for a favored spring diet of worms. Eastern Meadowlark will occasionally sing at night, especially when the moon is bright. Best to distinguish them by song, with the western meadowlark singing raspy, gargling notes sounding like the words Texas-is-beautiful. Length: 9.5" The eastern meadowlark’s sweet whistled song—spring of THE year!—is a sign of spring’s arrival, as is its lemon-yellow color, adding a brightness to the most dreary of spring days. This is an Eastern. Gary is also a contributing author in the book, "Pride of Place: A Contemporary Anthology of Texas Nature Writing.". By telling vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face, BirdNote inspires listeners to care about the natural world – and take steps to protect it. One mark is the yellow malar region of a Western Meadowlark, as opposed to white in Eastern. Plant them now for spring blossoms in Houston. Description: The Eastern Meadowlark is a stocky, robin-sized songbird with a brown streaked back, and a brilliant yellow breast with a prominent black "V." The tail is brown with white outer tail feathers, and the bill is long and pointed. No matter how lark-sounding the song, meadowlarks are not in the same family as larks of the Old World. Visual differences are more subtle, but they do exist. Females respond to the songs of males with a high-pitched chattering call, but each female’s call is directed toward a chosen male and not to other males. Habitat: Eastern Meadowlarks prefer native grasslands and open savannas, but are also found in many human-altered grassy habitats. Yet meadowlarks can sing about 100 varying melodies, each song announcing a blossoming prairie and signaling Earth’s awakening from winter and the renewal of life. He was vice president of the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory 2001-2008. In winter it often gathers in loose flocks of 25 to 50 individuals in prime feeding areas. A black V-shaped bib offsets the meadowlark’s glowing yellow breast and belly. The sweet, lazy whistles of Eastern Meadowlarks waft over summer grasslands and farms in eastern North America. Photo: Kathy Adams Clark / Kathy Adams Clark/KAC Productions. The song of this bird is of pure, melancholy whistles, and thus simpler than the jumbled and flutey song of the western meadowlark; their ranges overlap across central North America.In the field, the song is often the easiest way to tell the two species apart, though plumage differences do exist, like tail pattern and malar coloration.. Got seeds? The species is declining in Tennessee, as well as rangewide, because of changes in land use and human encroachment. Best places to see in Tennessee: Eastern Meadowlarks should be easy to find in farmland across the state, especially in spring and summer when they sing from fence posts and powerlines. These birds share similar habitat types, but are totally unrelated. Email Gary Clark at Texasbirder@comcast.net, Gary Clark is the weekly nature columnist for the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. On the ground, their brown-and-black dappled upperparts camouflage the birds among dirt clods and dry grasses. The male and female look alike. Incubation: The female incubates the eggs for about 14 days. Eastern meadowlarks sing from fence posts announcing spring on the prairies. Call notes are often given in a series, especially in flight, and are loud raspy chatters. They instead belt out songs along the periphery of their breeding territory. They utter several calls, including a harsh, electrical jrrt! The clear, plaintive, sliding song of the Eastern Meadowlark is a welcomed sign of spring. Its inimitably sweet melody sounds like the words spring-of-the-year. The breeding range includes Eastern and Central North America, parts of the southwestern states and parts of Mexico, to northern South America, and the Caribbean. Nesting and reproduction: Male Eastern Meadowlarks are usually polygynous, with two or rarely three females nesting within the male's territory. Fortunately for us, a song of such sustained, rich, liquid whistles at contrasting pitches gives the meadowlark’s singing acoustic qualities that carry over long distances. It's a bird of grass - and sage-lands, fields and pastures, meadows and prairies - a bird of open habitats. This is BirdNote! A black V on the breast punctuates the pattern. About the size of a robin but more chunky and with a shorter tail, the Western Meadowlark is a bird of grass- and sage-lands, fields and pastures, meadows and prairies – a bird of open habitats. The species are nearly identical and have overlapping ranges in many parts of the state. He served as president of the Houston Audubon Society 1989-1991 and purchased the North American Rare Bird Alert for Houston Audubon in 1990. Underneath, the birds show a yellow chin, throat, breast and belly that matches the color of yellow prairie flowers. Male meadowlarks may sing while standing on the prairie or more typically while perched above the prairie on a fence post, power line or tall bush. In 32 years at the college, Gary has served as vice president of instruction; dean of Business, Social and Behavioral Sciences; associate dean of Natural Sciences; professor of marketing; professor of developmental writing; and Faculty Senate president. A female will often raise two broods in a season. The Western Meadowlark singing, along with other sounds and calls. 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[Western Meadowlark song] Indeed, the Western Meadowlark’s song can be rightly acclaimed the essential musical theme of much of the West. Dynamic map of Eastern Meadowlark eBird observations in Tennessee, Obsolete English Names: eastern lark, meadow starling. Their topsides are cryptically plumed with mottled brown and buff accented with black bars to match the hues of a prairie. The adaptive significance of this yellow breast pattern is unknown, and may simply be a striking example of convergent evolution.

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