Western Meadowlark

Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

Pictures: (click for larger images)

A Western Meadowlark on the Intramural Field (a.k.a. Northern Athletic Field).  A small flock of them appeared here while I was looking for Killdeer.  10/10/2005
The Three Stooges start scoping things out.
I was flirting with peril as some UCLA golfers were practicing their drives on the other side of the field while I stalked the meadowlarks, who seemed more curious than concerned.
Some of them would lay low until I got too close, and then they'd take off to fly over and land at another spot on the field!
This one appeared to keep a lookout while the other foraged in the grass for something to eat.
Three Stooges on the move!

Description: Medium. 9.5" in length (beak to tail), slightly smaller than a pigeon.  Brown and white streaked on the back, yellow breast with conspicuous black V below the throat.   Long beak.

Sound: Listen to a Western Meadowlark singing and calling!  Link is to the sound page for this bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.

Commonality/Seasonality: Rare, year-round. 

Location: I think the only places you're likely to see these guys are large grassy lawns, such as the Intramural Field (a.k.a. Northern Athletic Field), Drake Stadium, or maybe Royce Quad, etc.

Notes: I've seen them on campus only once, on the Northern Athletic Field whiere I was looking for Killdeer.  They struck me as a pack of clowns.  They're pretty large in size, compared to sparrows and blackbirds which you're more likely to see. They're found widely across most of the west half of the U.S. and I think they tend to travel in groups.


Look for them (and listen) along the axis south of Life Science and about the margins of the ball fields.  They seem especially tuneful after a clearing-up shower.  One of my students, a music major, wrote down eight different musical motifs sung by the larks on campus. And such a voice!

-Miller, Loye.  "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300.  Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins.  Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.



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