Photos and article by Charly Mann
Oklahoma is the home of two birds that look almost identical, the Eastern and Western Meadowlark. While the Eastern variety is more prevalent in the eastern part of the state and the Western Meadowlark in the western part their territories do overlap.
Eatern Meadowlark singing just north of Vinita, Oklahoma
Meadowlarks often sit on fence posts singing a highly melodious song. While the Eastern Meadowlark and Western Meadowlark have distinctive songs they often learn each other's songs when they share the same area, making it even more difficult to distinguish one from the other.
Western Meadowlark 10 miles west of Webb City, Oklahoma
Both the Eastern and Western Meadowlark are about 9 inches long. They also both have a pointed bill and a yellow breast with a black "V" on it. Their wings are brown and black streaked, while their tail is brown with white on the outer edges. To tell the difference between an Eastern and Western Meadowlark you need to get within a few yards of the bird. The Eastern Meadowlarks have darker bodies than the Western Meadowlarks, and it has a dark center in most of its feathers, while the Western does not. Finally the Western Meadowlark is slightly slimmer than its eastern cousin.
Juvenile Eastern Meadowlark outside of Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Most male Meadowlarks have two females that they mate with. When you see a Meadowlark in a tree, on a telephone wire, or fencepost singing, it is usually a male staking out its territory which is about 7 acres. The female Meadowlark builds her nest in tall grass in a cup shape made out of dry grass, plant stems, and horsehair.
Meadowlark enjoying the day near Ocheleta, Oklahoma
Meadowlarks are not larks, but got their name because their song is similar to that of a lark. The Eastern Meadowlark's song sounds very much like he is singing "See-you-see-yer."
Western Meadowlark with a freshly caught catepillar
The Meadowlark's diets consists of worms, caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers.
Western and Eastern Meadowlarks can mate, but their offspring will be infertile.