What Brown and White Bird Perched In a Farm Field Has a Bright Yellow Chest With a Black V On It?

Like the Bobolinks I hadn’t seen since my teen years, I recently saw another hay field or wild meadow bird while out in the country in southern Ontario. First, I noticed their singing, then I saw several Eastern Meadowlarks showing off their dandelion-yellow chests and glossy black Vs from strategic perches in the middle of an unmown grassy field.

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Fully Wide Singing on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Eastern Meadowlarks Have a White V of Tail Feathers When They Fly

Another field mark I noticed when watching these Meadowlarks trying to attract mates and discourage rivals was their tail feathers. Several times, the birds flew up and almost hovered over the longer grasses and weeds. The outer feathers of their rather short tails flashed white, not unlike a Junco’s tail, but on a much larger bird. Their other brown and light feathers tended to blend in with the dead grasses.

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Flying Silhouette On NaturalCrooksDotCom

I wasn’t able to capture a clear photo of this colouring, but I did get one photo of a Meadowlark in silhouette as a consolation prize.

Doesn’t a Yellow Chest Put a Meadowlark At Risk from Predators?

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Shows Up in Field on NaturalCrooksDotCom
Even from a distance, you could see this bird quite clearly.

I’m sure there are times when wearing a neon-bright yellow patch is dangerous for an Eastern Meadowlark. At other times, though, they can blend right in with their background. I took a few photos in a row of this one bird and as it gradually turned away and faced more downwards, it virtually disappeared into the surrounding stalks and stems.

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Still Shows Up in Field A on NaturalCrooksDotCom Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Still Shows Up Less in Field B on NaturalCrooksDotCom Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Still Shows Up Less in Field C on NaturalCrooksDotCom Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Still Shows Up Very Camoflaged on NaturalCrooksDotCom

In this series, the Meadowlark gradually disappears. Keep an eye on the distance from the spike of brown weed seeds to try to find the bird. You can click on the photos to see a larger version.

Are Meadowlarks Uncommon?

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Sitting In Field on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Unfortunately, this formerly common bird has been dropping rapidly in numbers. Some of this is due to loss of habitat. Like Bobolinks, it prefers longer grasses to raise its family and hunt. Fewer farms are of the “seven cows ambling around the meadow” variety.

Various programs are underway, though, to encourage landowners to keep a mid-length pasture on their unused property. Credit Valley Conservation even offered a free bus tour and talk to anyone interested, showing them an example of a similar field created just for the birds at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

Photo of Eastern Meadowlark Agape Singing on NaturalCrooksDotCom

I hope some of these programs work so that my children can show their children Meadowlarks calling from a field when they are fifty!


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