This Eastern Meadowlark sang from the top of a cedar sapling in the Great Western Industrial Park near Randolph, Dakota County, Minnesota (29 March 2017). I previously posted on the perils of meadowlark identification. The non-gurgly, clear whistle and the yellow throat color not penetrating the sides of its head indicate Eastern Meadowlark.
The Eastern Meadowlark’s range is strange. They breed across most of central and eastern Minnesota and much of the eastern United States. They are almost absent in North Dakota and much of South Dakota. They breed in southwestern South Dakota and, curiously, much of the Southwestern United States, south into Central America.
In any event, this bird’s long hind toes indicate that it forages on the ground. Meadowlarks are generally in decline across North America. Loss of grassland habitat and industrialization of agriculture both contribute to this trend. Severe winters also take a toll on meadowlark populations.