Animals

Discover the Official State Bird of Kansas

Turnella neglecta, also known as the Western Meadowlark, is the official state bird of Kansas. It is a member of the blackbird family and linked to the Oriole. In 1937, Kansas designated the Western Meadowlark as its official state bird. The official state bird of Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, North Dakota, and North Dakota is the Western Meadowlark.

How the Official State Bird of Kansas was Chosen

About 121,000 schoolchildren in the state responded to a survey conducted by the Kansas Audubon Society regarding their choice of official state bird. The Western Meadowlark was victorious in its bid to become Kansas’s official state bird. There were about 44,000 votes cast for the Western Meadowlark. The Cardinal and the Bobwhite were the next most similar options. The Western Meadowlark was subsequently designated as Kansas’ official state bird by the Kansas Assembly in 1937, solidifying the designation.

Tips to Identify the Official State Bird of Kansas

In reality, the Western Meadowlark is linked to the Oriole and belongs to the blackbird family. The heads of the adults are striped in black and white. Its golden yellow breast has an unusual black band draped across it in the shape of a V. The Western Meadowlark’s hues, particularly its vivid yellow chest and abdomen, complement and mix well with the state’s abundant sunflower blooms.

The grey beak has a black border and a sharp point. The feathers have patterns of black and white and are tan and brown in color. Their calls are unique and have been compared to those of a flute. The Western Meadowlark is 6 1/2 to 10 inches long from head to tail and weighs only 3–4 ounces. They have a 16-inch wingspan.

Nesting and Dietary Habits of Western Meadowlarks

In the western and central parts of the United States, meadows serve as the typical breeding grounds for Western Meadowlarks. Although they will make their nests among accessible bushes and taller grassy areas, these ground-nesting birds prefer broad grasslands, meadows, prairies, and pastures. They will nest on cultivated fields in metropolitan settings. The Western Meadowlark spends the most of its time in its nests during the day.

After dusk, the birds go totally silent to avoid predators. Western Meadowlarks migrate, spending the winter in Mexico and the southern states of the United States. They return to their home, which may be as far north as Canada, during warm weather. The western portions of Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas are also home to them. Although the Meadowlark’s diet varies during the year, it usually consists of berries, grasshoppers, grain seeds, and other insects.

Western Meadowlark Eggs

Western Meadowlark eggs require 13 to 16 days to fully incubate. The young birds will be old enough to leave the nest after around 14 days. Since they are still unable to fly, they investigate the nearby meadows while their parents keep an eye on them. Around five to six weeks, the baby birds will start to fly, which will increase their field of vision. When the young birds learn to fly, they may decide to remain nearby or to move on and find their own territories for nesting and hunting.

The Breeding Habits of the Western Meadowlark

Days or weeks before the females arrive, breeding takes place on specific areas that the males guard. As they defend their area, you might spot the males perched atop poles, wires, and fences. The females gather the ingredients for the nest and build it.

During the breeding season, male Western Meadowlarks typically bring food to both nests and breed with two females. If necessary, the Eastern Meadowlark and the Western Meadowlark will mate. Unless the predator is a human, the male and female guard the nest and drive them away. It is always best to avoid a Western Meadowlark nest when you can because these birds will flee from human contact.