Western Meadowlark Is The Official State Bird Of Montana. The western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was Adopted the official state bird of Montana in 1931. Montana State Bird The western meadowlark was chosen overwhelmingly by Montana’s school children to represent the state (Wyoming, North Dakota, Oregon, and Kansas also adopted the western meadowlark as their state bird).
The State Bird Of Montana Western Meadowlark is a medium-sized icterid bird, about 8.5 in (22 cm) long. Western meadowlark, (Sturnella neglecta), nests on the ground in open country in western and central North America grassland. It feeds mostly on insects, but also seeds and berries. Montana 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 State Bird Of Montana 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 Montana meadowlarks eats 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.
Montana 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 eggs are white with brown and lavender spots concentrated at the wider end. Incubation takes two weeks and the young are full grown 6 weeks after hatching.
The majority of their 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.
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