Posted by Val Fox on April 17, 2014 at 2:15 PM
Each year the Western Meadowlarks return to this part of Alberta to find mates and nest. Their sweet melodies blend with the April sun as Spring warms the earth. New life once again joins the meadowlarks in a cacophany of sound.
Three years ago as I listened to the meadowlarks (members of the blackbird family) announce their arrival I noticed that they do not sound all the same; rather, each has it's own distinct call along with other assorted soft, cackling noises.
I focused on one specific song and eventually discovered the male meadowlark sitting on a fence post. I recorded him before he settled for the evening. He has returned to our fields each year, defending a territory with song. I've watched him pick through the grass with his long, pointed beak, then freeze-and-duck when sensing one of our dogs. Back feathers blend into the surrounding grass, hiding his bright yellow chest.
Western Meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta) nest on the prairie ground, out in the open. They feed on insects, berries and seeds. Their nests can be difficult to find when covered with a woven grass roof. Females lay up to seven eggs, incubate them for two weeks and the young are ready to fly at about six weeks later.
Western Meadowlarks leave the Southern Alberta prairie near the end of August, returning to wintering grounds that extend almost down to Mexico.
For now, I'll treasure each song and it's promise of new life. The Circle will continue for another year and it's joy more complete with the songs of the Western Meadowlark.
Bloggers from around the globe are participating in the April 2014 A-to-Z Challenge; posts follow the letters of the English Alphabet each day in April except Sundays. The following link will provide readers with more information.
Thanks for stopping by! My next post will feature the letter "N."
Tags: prairie birds; birds of North America; Southern Alberta prairie; grassland birds; prairie wildlife