Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Meadowlarks

The melodious whistles of the Eastern Meadowlark is a familiar and welcome sound across farms and grasslands in eastern North America.


They will sing to stake out a breeding territory. A male Eastern Meadowlark typically has two mates at a time, and on rare occasion, three. I found this one singing in Goose Lake Prairie State Park.





I found this one singing at McKinley Woods/Moose Island.

Interesting Notes:
Meadowlarks have a complex bill musculature that allows them to force the bill open with considerable strength. This allows them to insert the bill into the dirt substance, & pry apart the ground. While this happens the eyes rotate forward slightly and they can see directly between their jaws into the hole they have created. This technique is referred to as "gaping".
Gaping allows meadowlarks to seek insects that other bird species can't get. Starlings also have this ability.

4 comments:

Aluajala said...

The last photo is particulary amazing. This Meadowlark looks like a little vocalist standing in front of the audience singing some aria..

HANNIBAL said...

Thanks Aluajala! I agree, he's putting on a show, and coincidently, he was with 2 others, so they must have been the 3 Tenors...

Richard said...

Great pictures. I saw an early bird about two weeks ago and still waiting for them to get up into central Minn.

Craig said...

Great shots and thanks for posting the information on "gaping" I'd never heard of that before.

Craig