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The Western Meadowlark is the state bird for more states – six – than any other bird except the Northern Cardinal, which has seven.
This bird is so similar to the Eastern Meadowlark that the only sure way to identify the Western Meadowlark is by its song, which is so different and has been described as "wee weetidleoo."
The song is often heard on Hollywood soundtracks even when the movie setting is far from the bird's range.
Others light differences are white flanks with spots rather than long streaks, the white in the outer tail feathers, which is less extensive, and that it sings more often on the wing than the Eastern Meadowlark. But that's it.
The Western Meadowlark has been seen in Ballard, Breckinridge, Fulton, Henderson, Hopkins, Jefferson, Lyons, Oldham, Warren and Washington counties in Kentucky and has been confirmed to be breeding in Fulton County.
This 9.5-inch long bird is the same length as the Eastern Meadowlark, but it has a slightly wider wingspan, which is 14.5 inches.
Its nest is in a natural or scraped hollow in the ground, which is lined first with coarse dried grasses and then an inner lining constructed of finer grasses, and sometimes horsehair may also be used.
There is also a dome-shaped roof or canopy constructed of grasses that are loosely interwoven with and attached to surrounding vegetation, with an opening on the side.
Most nests, after they are located, will have obvious trails leading to them through the chosen habitat. The female builds this masterpiece in three to eight days and then lays three to seven eggs.
She also incubates them for 13 to 15 days and may even raise two broods, if her mate will hang around long enough.
One thing that you must always count on when you are out and about in the world of nature is to never take anything for granted.
When you observe a meadowlark in the wild, try to listen for the song, because one day, you just might see and hear the Western Meadowlark, east of the Mississippi in The Great Outdoors.
To read more columns about birds by Horace Brown, visit www.SentinelNews.com/recreation. Horace Brown is a civil/sanitary engineer, land surveyor and nature photographer and writer. To contact him or order a copy of Brown’s 2012 Holey Birds Calendar, E-mail email@example.com, call 502-682-7711 or write 527 Main Street, Shelbyville 40065.