Western Meadowlark – Up close and personal

/, Birds, Davis County, Utah, Western Meadowlarks/Western Meadowlark – Up close and personal

Portrait of a Western MeadowlarkPortrait of a Western Meadowlark – Nikon D300, f/13, 1/500, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light

During the spring Western Meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta) can be easy to locate and then approach because they spend so much time singing from the tops of boulders, bushes, posts and other manmade objects.

I photographed this Meadowlark singing while perched on a sign on Antelope Island State Park this past Monday. The bird was so close that unless I took off my teleconverter I couldn’t fit the whole body of the Meadowlark into the frame. I wasn’t sure how long the bird would stay so I opted to take close ups of it instead of removing the TC.



  1. Mathew May 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    The Western is the only meadowlark found in Utah and where it occurs with the Eastern (or Lillian’s), the differences can only be discerned by voice or by insurmountably subtle differences in appearance such as the amount of yellow on the malar stripe.

    Your image “calls” to mind something I came across the very day you published it–a reference to the songs of Meadowlarks from the “Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club,” beginning p. 145. It is the link to my name, and I will also copy it here.


    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Matthew, thank you for providing the link that references the songs of Meadowlarks in the bulletin, I enjoyed being able to see the song as musical notes. I wouldn’t be able to tell the Western fron the Eastern Meadowlark without their songs, visually I might be able to if I had extreme close ups like the one in this post, even then I wouldn’t be sure without hearing them call.

  2. Stu April 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I get great solace looking at your photographs Mia.

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Stu, thank you for this comment, I’m happy to hear that my images gives you great solace.

  3. Nicole MacP April 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Beautiful shot, love it!

    • Mia McPherson May 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Thanks Nicole! I was tickled to be so close to the Meadowlark.

  4. Susan April 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Oh wow,wonderful photo Mia!

    • Mia McPherson April 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Susan, thanks, I was very happy with this image.

  5. Julie Brown April 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Gorgeous tight shot. I like seeing the tongue. How do you get so close to birds? You must be the bird whisperer. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson April 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Hi Julie, the Meadowlarks that perch on this sign seem unafraid of people, it may be because so many cars pass that sign. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Elijah Goodwin April 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Wow! Nice close-up Mia. I love the tip of the tongue sticking out.

    • Mia McPherson April 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you Elijah, the tongue sticking out was a bonus.

  7. Carol Mattingly April 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Gorgeous Mia. I can’t say anything else. Just gorgeous. Carol

    • Mia McPherson April 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you Carol, you are very kind.

  8. Scott Simmons April 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I wish I had that problem more often–the bird being too close. Nice shot!

    • Mia McPherson April 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Yes, it isn’t too often that we get too close to our winged subjects Scott, thanks for your comment.

  9. Bob Zeller April 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Great close-up, Mia. I love that he is singing. Makes a great pose. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson April 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Bob, I liked it that the bird was singing too.

  10. Laurence Butler April 26, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Ha! That’s awesome.

    • Mia McPherson April 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Laurence, thank you, the bird was great at posing.

  11. Tammy Karr April 26, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Wow, that is incredible detail!!! Amazing photo Mia!

  12. Jim Braswell April 26, 2012 at 5:34 am

    Great closeup, Mia.

    • Mia McPherson April 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you Jim, it was wonderful to be that close.

Comments are closed.