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March 18th 2010    Tim Candler

    Meadowlarks in full fettle.   There will probably be four pairs dotted around by early summer.   Afternoons are dominated by the chaos of their song.

    Meadowlarks are 'gaping' birds.  There is a muscle that enables them to open their beaks with extraordinary force.   This allows them to dig for insects in places other birds cannot.  And while 'gaping' a Meadowlark's eyes move forward so that he can see into the hole he is digging without having to cock his head.  Then, when he closes his beak he can't see into his hole, which I imagine can sometimes be frustrating.

    The Close Mockingbird is I think tempted by their call.  He pauses to listen in the same way that he pauses to listen to me when I whistle at him.  He develops an intensity of stance that soon suggests disdain, because both Meadowlarks and I are not early birds.  Rarely do we rise at dawn to call the sun in the way the blessed do.

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North American Eastern Meadowlark       http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/western_meadowlark/id

South American Long-tailed Meadowlark  http://www.arkive.org/long-tailed-meadowlark/sturnella-loyca/video-00.html

South American Pampas Meadowlark       http://www.arkive.org/pampas-meadowlark/sturnella-defilippii/