Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sturnella neglecta

          As a Wyomingite, you sort of develop a deep love for anything related to the state. Whenever I’m out anywhere and I see good ol’ Steamboat, a buffalo, or an Indian paintbrush, I immediately think of Wyoming. The one that really truly has it for me, however, is the meadowlark. Yellow-bellied and with a V upon its neck, the mere sighting of a meadowlark is the coolest thing. Its clear, loud voice ringing out over a field on a glorious day with a deep blue sky brings a smile to my face and a feeling of happiness to be a Wyomingite. They stand for beauty, grace, and everything that this state believes in!
      The Western Meadowlark, or Sturnella neglecta, is an icterid bird, meaning one that lives in North or South America. They are rather small, only about 8 and a half inches long. Adults have a yellow chest and belly, with a distinctive V on their necks. Their backs are usually brown and spotted, sometimes with black streaks. Baby meadowlarks are ugly, developing their color weeks after they’re born. They spend most of their life in grasslands, prairies, or abandoned fields across western and central North America. In the winter, a great migration occurs, because interestingly, meadowlarks don’t do too well in -30° temperatures with winds blowing at approximately 5.3 billion mph and a blizzard, like the winters we get here. These guys fly hundreds of miles across the country to their winter homes in northern Mexico, but return in the spring.
         Meadowlarks are more than just a state bird. They are a symbol of everything Wyoming believes in, including defiance, grandeur, and beauty. When you look at one, you can see Wyoming, miles and miles of open plain…

-The Ranger