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Eastern Meadowlark, Merritt Island NWR Florida

June 7, 2013

Even though the goal of my trip Florida was to photograph wading birds, I couldn’t pass the chance to photograph some cooperative songbirds. Like this Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) photographed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge:

Bird photography - Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Merritt Island NWR Canon 7D 500mm songbird photograph

– for larger view and EXIF data, please click on the image – Photograph taken with a Canon 7D camera paired with 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4x teleconverter

“Cool facts:

– A male Eastern Meadowlark typically has two mates at a time, rarely three.

– Taxonomists recognize up to 17 subspecies of Eastern Meadowlark, including one isolated population in the Southwest known as the Lillian’s Meadowlark, which lives well within the range of the Western Meadowlark.

-Although Eastern and Western Meadowlarks are nearly identical, the two species hybridize only very rarely. Mixed pairs usually occur only at the edge of the range where few mates are available.

– Where Eastern and Western meadowlark ranges overlap in the central U.S., the two species refuse to share territories. Their songs sound totally different to each other, like a foreign language, so singing doesn’t always do the job of communicating territorial boundaries. Instead, the two species are likely to fight for territorial supremacy.

– An Eastern Meadowlark male can sing several different variations of its song. In New York, the songs from one male were analyzed using spectrograms; the bird sang more than 100 different patterns of song.

– The oldest known wild Eastern Meadowlark was at least 8 years, 8 months old. ” – Cornell Lab

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