Meet the Western Meadowlark, Wyoming’s state bird. If you’ve spent any time in Wyoming or the west, you’ve probably at least heard these birds. For my money, their melodious flute like voice is the prettiest on the prairie. To me, it sounds something like this…
Yooo Hoo! Hey Lady Look at Me!
I grew up with meadowlarks providing the musical accompaniment to summer days spent horseback or evenings spent at the barn tending hogs and sheep. Oh how I love these happy birds with the bright yellow bellies. They are spring and summer and everything that I love about this state all wrapped up in sunshine kissed feathers.
Here’s a fun Western Meadowlark fact for you…most males have two mates at the same time. The females bear the load of raising the next generation, taking care of incubation, brooding and feeding their young. With two females to look after his progeny, no wonder Mr. Meadowlark is always so happy. He’s got nothing but time to stand on fence posts and whistle a happy tune.
It’s fun for Wyokiddo and I to walk outside after we’ve seen meadowlarks foraging near our house. We both get a kick out of seeing the holes they leave in the ground. Like other members of their blackbird family, meadowlarks use a technique to eat called gaping. They’ll stick their beak in the dirt and force it open to get bugs and food other birds can’t access. The area around our house will be littered with tiny holes, about the size of my pinky finger. It’s a neat trick if you’re a bird.
When we lived in Boulder, Wyoming, meadowlark sightings were few and far between. But here in the eastern grasslands of our state, they are abundant and plentiful. We moved back to this side of the state right after a blizzard. But that evening, as we unpacked boxes and settled in and the sunset painted the trees with shades of pink, gold and yellow, I heard the familiar and welcome refrain. It was the best housewarming present this girl could ask for.