Western Meadowlark: Habitat - How Much is Enough

November 10, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

A persistent flock of eight to ten Western Meadowlark along the Clackamette Cove and River Access Trail in Oregon City recently sparked my curiosity about the habitat needs of this species.  I usually find meadowlarks there in an area just three acres in size and less frequently in an adjacent sparsely covered site of about five acres.  It wasn't until my dog walk yesterday that I began to suspect the flock might be inhabiting the place year-round. And, I doubt most people viewing the location on Google Maps would think to search for meadowlark in this isolated, mostly urban, mixed-use residential and commercial wasteland of sorts. 

According to a 2011 study of the Western Meadowlark habitat in the southern Willamette Valley, the mean habitat size per breeding pair was 14 acres, which would suggest the Clackamette Cove site might support one pair.  So what's up with the small flock that seems to always be in a location that, for all useful purposes, is less than 10 acres in size. 

Another unusual aspect of my last observation was the coloration of the birds found here.  They are dark above not brown and very bright yellow below. 

   

I Have to throw in a couple of additional images of other birds just because.


CITATION:

Altman, B., Blakely-Smith, M., Halsted, K. and Kreager, A. (2011). Western Meadowlarks and Wet Prairie Habitat in the Willamette Valley: Population Enhancement through Private Land Habitat Restoration. [online] Appliedeco.org. Available at: http://appliedeco.org/wp-content/uploads/IAE-meadowlark-habitat-report-2010.pdf [Accessed 10 Nov. 2019].


https://ebird.org/pnw/checklist/S61337707 
 


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