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Tonight I’m taking a brief hiatus from Bobcat photos (believe me, I have a lot more to post!) to show a very beautiful songbird that I photographed last weekend. This is a Western Meadowlark. In my opinion it is among the more colorful and graceful birds that one can find in southern Arizona this time of year. I found this one in agricultural country northwest of Tucson. It was part of a flock of several dozen meadowlarks.
Meadowlarks populate the grasslands and agricultural flatlands of southern Arizona in great numbers this time of year. There are two species that winter here: the Eastern and Western Meadowlark. They look very much alike although their songs are quite different. A friend, Tom Munson helped me to identify this individual as a member of the Western species. It is in non-breeding plumage. During the breeding season the “bib” on the bird’s chest would be much darker.
Meadowlarks like to roost low and this bird was no exception. I found it roosting on a branch that had fallen to the ground from an adjacent tree. I photographed it from the driver’s side window of my car. I do that more and more lately. Most birds will fly when they are approached but they have a tendency to stay in place just a bit longer if the photographer doesn’t leave his or her vehicle.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture preferred setting, ISO 640, f5.6 @ 1/800.