Greg Seitz

If you arrive early to the bison tower on any day of the week, you may be welcomed with the flutelike descending trill of the Eastern Meadowlark. A chunky bird, slightly smaller than a Blue Jay, they often sing from the telephone wires or fence posts where they can proclaim their territory to the world.

The bright yellow feathers on their chests and bold black V below the chin are two easy identification marks to look for. 

Photo by Jake Bonello, USFWS

Eastern Meadowlarks are called obligate prairie birds, which means they can only live in open meadows, prairies or fields. Trees do these birds no good. It’s the grasses, alfalfa or sedge hummocks that they need. 

All nesting and hunting take place directly on the ground. Walking in and around the grass hummocks keeps the birds hidden from potential predation. Their long thin beaks can probe the ground seeking yummy grubs or grasshoppers. 

Nests are typically found in a small depression or even a hoof print created with dead grasses and plant stems, usually well concealed by vegetation. The female will lay 2-7 lovely white eggs with variable speckles.

Eastern Meadowlark perches on a nest in grass
Eastern Meadowlark” by CheepShot is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Eastern Meadowlarks are listed as a declining species due to habitat loss, pesticide use, overgrazing, and early mowing. 

Thankfully because of habitat restoration, at Belwin these birds have a place to call home. By providing a safe haven for them to reproduce and raise their young, we are helping to ensure that their magical song will always be morning music to our ears.

For more information:
North American Breeding Bird Survey 
Partners in Flight 


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