2011. At a site in Dodge County, for example, he found Eastern Meadowlarks occupying an 80-acre wet, grassy pasture that was surrounded by cultivated fields, heavily grazed pasture, and tame hay fields occupied by Western Meadowlarks. 2016). Indeed, studies (Rotenberry and Knick 1995; Sutter et al. Ribic and her colleagues, however, identified three studies that demonstrated a positive relationship between breeding densities of the Western Meadowlark and the size of the grassland tract and one study that demonstrated a negative relationship (Ribic et al. Version 2015.1. Minnesota’s Wildlife Action Plan 2015–2025. Identification of this species, especially by sight alone, is difficult because it is nearly identical to the Eastern Meadowlark. The western counterpart of the Eastern Meadowlark, the Western Meadowlark is a conspicuous and abundant resident of grasslands, croplands, weedy fallow fields, roadsides, and mixed grasslands/shrublands of central and western North America. Two exceptions are Nevada and Wyoming, where the populations are stable. Further east, in the bluff lands of Winona and Wabasha Counties, he found Western Meadowlarks occupying fields on the flat, open hilltops while Eastern Meadowlarks occupied the more mesic valleys closer to the surrounding deciduous woodlands. Eckert, Kim R. 2010. Overall, it is best for the field observer not to make any assumptions about the presence or absence of either species anywhere in Minnesota. Elsewhere in its range, the species experienced a significant expansion in the northeastern United States in the 1900s. “Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).” Minnesota Biological Survey: Breeding Bird Locations. Species Account Number 104. The Western Meadowlark was a common species during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas. Indeed, in 2015 the average number of meadowlarks per route in Minnesota was only 4.6 birds (Pardieck et al. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. On CRP lands in Minnesota, breeding densities averaged 2.8 meadowlarks per 40 ha (Hanowski 1995). 2009). During the atlas, Western Meadowlarks were observed in 830 blocks while Eastern Meadowlarks were only observed in 490 blocks. "width": 380, Johnson, Richard G., and Stanley A. Temple. Sometimes, however, its territories are not confined to a single tract (Johnson and Igl 2001). Data collected by the federal Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) have been used to model population abundance, generating a North American population estimate of 90 million Western Meadowlarks (Rosenberg et al. From the Red River valley the southeastern boundary of the breeding range extends northeast to Lake Michigan and on to Lake Ontario. Highest breeding densities occur in the Prairie Potholes, Badlands, and Central Mixed Grass Prairie regions (Figure 1). 2008. Although the meadowlark appears abundant in many areas of its breeding range, it has experienced a significant decline of 1.29% per year since the BBS began (Sauer et al. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family … Western Meadowlarks have experienced some of their steepest declines in Minnesota, where populations have decreased an average of 7.51% per year from 1967 to 2015 (Figure 8). Nevertheless, when he examined 66 other BBS routes in the state where Western Meadowlarks had been reported, similar declines were noted statewide. Several years earlier, it was estimated that 0.5% of the North American population occurred in Minnesota (Partners in Flight Science Committee 2013). Life Histories of North American Blackbirds, Orioles, Tanagers, and Allies: Order Passeriformes. Ribic, Christine A., Rolf R. Koford, James R. Herkert, Douglas H. Johnson, Neal D. Niemuth, David E. Naugle, Kristel K. Bakker, David W. Sample, and Rosalind B. Renfrew. The results show that the species is encountered in moderate breeding densities along the western tier of counties from Rock and Nobles in the far southwest to Kittson and Roseau in the far northwest. A ground forager feeding on insects and seeds. Summary statistics of observations by breeding status category for the Western Meadowlark in Minnesota based on all blocks (each 5 km x 5 km) surveyed during the Breeding Bird Atlas (2009-2013).  2002; Davis and Lanyon 2008). 2013. Hertzel, Anthony X., and Robert B. Janssen. 2016b. Breeding distribution and relative abundance of the Western Meadowlark in North America based on the federal Breeding Bird Survey from 2011 to 2015 (Sauer et al. Minneapolis: Minnesota Prairie Plan Working Group. Information based on reports from birders in the field. Outside Texas Western Meadowlark breeds across Canada from British Columbia to Lake Ontario and south along the Pacific Coast to northern Baja California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the central plateau of Mexico. Official State Bird of Oregon. 2006; Dechant et al. Partners in Flight Science Committee. North American Breeding Distribution and Relative Abundance: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2016a, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2016b, Partners in Flight Science Committee 2013, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2015, Minnesota Prairie Plan Working Group 2011, North American Bird Conservation Initiative 2010, https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/wesmea, http://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/es196/projects/2013final/LeeL_2013.pdf, http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mnwap/index.html, http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/birdmaps/western_meadowlark_map.pdf, http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/birdmaps/eastern_meadowlark_map.pdf, https://www.fws.gov/midwest/hapet/documents/mn_prairie_conservation_plan.pdf, http://www.stateofthebirds.org/2010/pdf_files/State of the Birds_FINAL.pdf, http://www.partnersinflight.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/pif-continental-plan-final-spread-single.pdf, Davis, Stephen K., and Wesley E. Lanyon. Several field studies also have identified the impacts of habitat edges on the species’ reproductive success. The species also has been designated a Species in Greatest Conservation Need in Minnesota because of its declining population and the loss of suitable habitat (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2015). Western Meadowlarks seek the wide open spaces of native grasslands and agricultural fields for spring and summer breeding and winter foraging. The Birds of North America web site has excellent distribution information, annual membership required. A regular breeding species and migrant; occasional during the winter months but not present every year. They also occur along the weedy verges of roads, marsh edges, and mountain meadows up to 10,000 feet. (1999) 2002. Green, Janet C., and Robert B. Janssen. Janssen, Robert B. 2016. He further clarified this line of demarcation several years later when he stated that there were clearly areas west of the line where Eastern Meadowlarks could be found (Eckert 2010). “The Influence of Edge Effects on Habitat Suitability of Western Meadowlarks in East Bay Regional Park District Grasslands.” Senior thesis, University of California Berkeley. 2016). “The Western Meadowlark in Minnesota: Does it Have a Future?” Loon 72: 127–132. Aggressive interagency initiatives, such as the Minnesota Prairie Initiative (Minnesota Prairie Plan Working Group 2011), are important efforts to increase the number of grassland acres that are protected and restored throughout western Minnesota. A decidedly western species, the Western Meadowlark’s breeding range extends across the western two-thirds of the United States and southern Canada, ranging as far east as southern Ontario and Michigan. 2017). Western Meadowlark Breeding Bird Survey Trend Map, 1966-2015 (Sauer et al. 1975. 2013. Summary statistics for the Western Meadowlark observations by breeding status category for all blocks and priority blocks (each 5 km x 5 km) surveyed during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (2009-2013). © 2020 Copyright Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas. 2009. Habitat profile for the Western Meadowlark based on habitats within 200 m of point counts where the species was present during the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas (2009-2013). Although CRP acres provide suitable habitat for many grasslands species, the dense, high cover planted on many acres may not provide the most ideal habitat for Western Meadowlarks, who prefer more moderate cover densities and heights (Haroldson et al. Breeding evidence was gathered in 53 blocks. Most abundant in the Prairie Parklands and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands Provinces, scattered reports have been documented as far east as central St. Louis County in the northeast and southern Houston County in the southeast (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2016a). 1987. East of this line, both species could be present. The western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was chosen as the state bird of Oregon in 1927 by the state's school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society.All State Birds. Washington, DC: U.S. National Museum. “Breeding Bird Composition and Species Relative Abundance Patterns on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Land in Western Minnesota.” Loon 67: 12–16. “Western Meadowlark (. Aside from the BBS data, reported breeding densities in North Dakota between 1967 and 1993 ranged between less than 1.2 birds per 40 ha to as high as nearly 14.0 birds per 40 ha, depending on the year and the habitat (Igl et al.