Wednesday, May 3, 2023

My May Day Meadowlark (known otherwise as the Eastern Meadowlark)

Today is May 3, and I'm still tickled by a rare sighting of the Eastern Meadowlark on the first of May known by some (like me) as May Day.  May Day is a big deal to me as I associate it with the time of spring warblers filling the woodlands. Warblers are wonderful, as you well know, but if you've ever heard the song of an Eastern Meadowlark, you know that warblers have serious competition.

The habitat of the Eastern Meadowlark is field and pasture, and when I lived in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, I saw them regularly every spring and summer.  My house sat in a hollow, which was surrounded on three sides by forest and one side by a 30 plus acre of pasture. The last and only time I ever got photos of this beautiful songster was in the summer of 2011, my last year of life in that birder's paradise. 

As always, I must apologize for the quality of my photos. I wasn't a photographer then and I'm still not--ha!

If you want to see the Eastern Meadowlark in its full glory, just pop the name into your search engine. 

This once common bird is in steep, steep decline, so much so that to see or hear one is a lucky event especially if you don't live in a rural location. I currently live in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, home of the Gettysburg Military Park, and so field and pasture abound. And every spring and summer, I've imagined that when driving along Emmitsburg Road, I've heard Eastern Meadowlarks. Unfortunately, I could never spot one.

Then on May Day, while driving on South Confederate Avenue, I heard an Eastern Meadowlark. I

pulled into the lane of the Bushman House (a historic home and property of the Battle of Gettysburg), and, with my two dogs, walked (they ran) through the pasture and orchard to locate the source. And then I found him! He was sitting within a peach tree calling out for mates.  The Eastern Meadowlark (who in truth is not a "lark" but a blackbird) is a busy guy who mates with two, maybe three ladies! And given their population decline, I say "Bravo" to that!

Until next time . . . Keep birds in your heart!

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