Watching western meadowlarks in winter

January 08, 2014

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Stewardship Director Melissa Reich was working out at NCLC’s Reed Ranch property recently and reported seeing the state bird of Oregon, the western meadowlark. Meadowlarks are adapted to open grassy areas, and the short-grass coastal prairie habitat found at Reed Ranch makes for a perfect wintering area. A flock of up to twenty meadowlarks can be seen there most winters. They begin arriving in late September and linger until March, when they move to inland breeding sites. They are also found regularly on the tidal marsh near the south jetty at Fort Stevens State Park and along the dunes in Gearhart.

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The western meadowlark was adopted as the state bird of Oregon in 1927 after a popular vote conducted by schoolchildren. Habitat for the western meadowlark, especially in western Oregon, is in sharp decline. As a result, this bird has been designated a critically sensitive species in this state. If mitigating actions are not taken to preserve this bird and its habitat, a listing as threatened or endangered may be necessary.

—Submitted by Mike Patterson

Comments

  1. Jeanne Henderson says:

    How wonderful that NCLC has conserved properties that the meadowlark is adapted to. Really nice pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us!

  2. Andrea Rudenko says:

    I have been seeing these birds in my backyard in Cannon Beach – maybe not their typical habitat, from what is described. Now I know they are meadowlarks! Thank you for the story.