Here is my entry for Granny Shot It’s Bird of the Day (BOTD) challenge.
Both the Western Meadowlark and Eastern Meadowlark are about the size of the American Robin. It can be a difficult task for birders to identify the species in areas where they can both congregate. The images below are compliments of the All About Birds website & are the perfect illustration of the similarities & differences of the breeding males. The maps below each bird demonstrate their territories. In the crossover states, it is almost impossible to 100% identify which bird you are looking at unless you can get a photo or you are an expert. Both species like to forage in open fields or pasture land. In Texas, I’ve seen them foraging at the edge of lakes during the winter months.
Western Meadowlarks eat grain seed in the winter & spring but will forage for weed seed in the fall. They also eat beetles, ants, cutworms, crickets and grasshoppers. The Eastern Meadowlark eats mainly insects such as grasshoppers, crickets & grubs.
Both meadowlark females build their nest on the ground, but they differ in the number of eggs they lay. The western will lay 5-6 eggs, while the eastern will lay 2-7 eggs. The eggs are similar with spots, but the western eggs are little more prominent with their brown, rust & lavender spots. Incubation times are the same.
Hope you get to see both of these species & are able to identify them correctly when in the crossover areas in North America. Happy Birding!