The New Student's Reference Work/Meadowlark

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NSRW Meadowlark.jpg

Mead′owlark or field-lark, one of our birds given the name of lark but not a true lark, a member of the blackbird family, close kin to the orioles and black birds. While very common, its protective coloring, that of the ground, accounts for the fact that it is not so often seen as the familiar blackbird with which it frequently associates. On the ground it spends all its time while feeding, and is a strong walker. It is about the size of the robin, upper part varying shades of brown and black, underneath yellow with a black crescent on the breast, white on tail conspicuous in flight. Its whistle, usually sounded from upmost branch, is piercing but most musical, “clear as the note of a fife, sweet as the tone of a flute.” The western meadowlark is considered a worthy rival of the nightingale and wood-thrush. After a period of silence in the summer the bird may be heard again in the autumn. When perching it appears uneasy, twitching its tail about at every sound; on the ground it allows close approach. The nest (on the ground) is cleverly hidden, grasses curved over it, and about the middle of May it contains from four to six brown-speckled white eggs. The meadowlark is distributed throughout North America, and migrates in April and late October, some birds remaining all winter. The bird is prized for its inspiriting note, the soft harmony of its coloring, its neighborliness and its usefulness in destroying insects and eating seeds of weeds.