Eastern Meadowlark

From Ohio History Central
Eastern Meadowlark.jpg


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Scientific Name: Sturnella magna
Habitat: Grasslands, pastures, hayfields, and highway right-of ways.
Adult Weight: 3.25 - 4.5 oz.
Adult Body Length: 8.5 - 11 inches
Nesting Period: April - August
Clutch Size: 3 - 5
Foods: Primarily insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, ants, spiders and wasps. In winter, they will eat grains and weed seeds.


The meadowlark is in the blackbird family. It can easily be identified by it yellow breast and black V-shaped breast band. It nests on the ground in domed nests, hidden in the grass. It is considered a great friend to farmers because of the insects they eat.



The Eastern meadowlark originally lived, in small numbers, in the prairies of western Ohio.

19th Century

As virgin forests were replaced by small farm fields, meadowlark quickly expanded their range across Ohio. By the mid-1800s, they were common to abundant in the state during the summer.

20th Century

In the 1930s and 40s, grasslands began to be turned into croplands. This steady loss of habitat caused meadowlark populations to decline. This was not the only reason. An increase in the number of times hayfields were mowed, resulting in destroyed nest, and severe winters were important factors in the decline of breeding populations.

Today they are still common, migrating south from September to mid-November and returning in early March.

See Also


  1. Peterjohn, John. The Birds of Ohio; Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN; 1989.