Troubadour of Spring

It’s usually around the 15th of March that I hear my first Western Meadowlark of the year. The bright yellow male bird is often seen sitting on a fence post singing his song of spring.

Western Meadowlark
Wikimedia Commons photo by Kevin Cole

It’s a lovely sound, described as watery, warbly, flute-like. Some say the Meadowlark is crying, “Please pass the salt and pepper, would you please?”

Listen to it here and see if you agree.

Much like the aloof western man of the movies, the Western Meadowlark is, apparently, a bird of (relatively) few words. The male of the species “seldom sing more than 10–12 songs, their eastern counterparts exhibit a much larger repertoire of 50–100 song variations.”*

Well, we’re fine with that because there’s nothing aloof about the sound of this song when heard on a bright blue prairie morning. Those few notes say a lot.

P.S.  The Western Meadowlark’s scientific name is Sturnella neglecta, so named because for many years it was neglected as a species separate from the Eastern Meadow lark.

Those taxonomists, such a sense of humor.


* Cornell Lab of Ornithology

One Comment Add yours

  1. sandy says:

    A beautiful song!
    We have the eastern meadowlark here, but I haven’t see many.

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