Mar 3 2006
11:59 am
By: R. Neal

Eastern Meadowlark (?) from the recent Great Backyard Bird Count

(First one I can recall ever seeing.)

rikki's picture

meadowlark indeed

Suburbanization has been a huge problem for meadowlarks. Much of their habitat has been developed. As grassland birds, they can probably tolerate our presence fairly well, but grassy areas tend to get mowed too often, destroying their nests. They also need fairly large expanses of tall grass to protect them and their eggs from predators.

They are fairly common in agricultural areas. I can head up my road about a mile and reliably spot one, but I was still thrilled to hear one within earshot about a month ago. If the golf course behind you leaves swaths unmowed along the fairways, that may be enough to give them nesting habitat, but the timing of the yearly or semi-yearly bushhogging is critical.

R. Neal's picture

Interesting, Rikki. There's

Interesting, Rikki. There's a fairly large, undeveloped partially wooded meadowland at the end of the street and adjacent to the golf course. (You might remember the photos of the hawk with the rabbit I took down there.) Maybe that's where he hangs out.

It's pretty great habitat. Of course, it's all platted out for more home lots. We've been thinking about talking to the developer about giving it to the city for a park or something. Even though it'll probably never happen, I'd even be willing to kick in some cash to preserve it.

rikki's picture

You might also want to talk

You might also want to talk to the golf course about creating some meadowlark-friendly habitat. They're good biocontrol for the kind of insects the groundskeeper most dislikes.

bzzgirl, killdeer nest in rocky areas, so mowing is not an issue. They seem to be adding asphalt to their range of acceptable habitats. I saw baby killdeer in the parking lot of that AmSouth bank on Alcoa Hwy near Ginn Rd two summers ago (I'm not there often enough to know whether this repeated last summer). The thought of it makes my brain hurt, but the parents got at least far enough to hatch their eggs and may have successfully raised their offspring despite the constant 50-mph traffic just yards away.

bizgrrl's picture

Sounds like your discussion

Sounds like your discussion could be a problem for killdeer as well. However, they are definitely more plentiful in my area than are the Eastern Meadowlark.

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