Western Meadowlark  ( Sturnelle de l'Ouest )      This species is of special interest to Timiskaming birders.    All sightings should be documented and reported.

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Sturnella neglecta

Description:    Male Western Meadowlark in full song
Photo Date:   May 11, 2008


Waugh's Hill Road, Harris Township


Michael Werner

General Notes

The Western Meadowlark is a rare migrant and occasional breeder in eastern Ontario.  They have likely been present in the Lake of the Woods region of western Ontario since land was first cleared for agriculture by the early settlers. Primarily a bird of the western prairies, it is declining throughout its North American range due to reductions in their preferred habitat caused by land use change. More intensive farming practices and conversion from pasture to row crops and from alfalfa/hay to corn and soybeans have all reduced the amount of available habitat for the species.

They are most readily differentiated from the Eastern Meadowlark by their song. The sexes are similar.  For more information on differentiating the two Meadowlark species, see the Cornell University page at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/mlarkdiff.htm.

Western Meadowlarks have also been documented by Jonathan Frechette as breeding successfully just east of Timiskaming District, in the St-Eugène-De-Guigues, Angliers area of Quebec, just east of Notre-Dame-du-Nord.

Abundance: Out of range
Breeding Status: Accidental

Documented Observations



May 11, 2008. One observed and photographed by Michael Werner in Harris Township. Video, including audio, of the bird singing is on file. Accepted OBRC record on file.