Thayerbirding is supported by its audience. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What Is the State Bird of Montana? – 9 Amazing Facts

Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes

what is the state bird of montana

Montana is in the northwest region of the United States, between Idaho and Wyoming. Montana is well known for its rich wildlife and place prosperous in minerals, gold, and silver.

Montana’s location was also said to have the most extraordinary temperature change in 24 hours, suitable for plants and animals growing and living in different climates, weather, and seasons.

So, what is the state bird of Montana?

The state bird for Montana is the Western Meadowlark. Read on to know amazing facts about this species.

Montana State Bird Facts

montana's-state-bird

Montana has various state symbols, including tree, flower, animal, plant, and state bird. The state tree of Montana is the ponderosa pine.

The state bird and flower are the Western Meadowlark and the bitterroot, and the flower is also on the flag of Montana.

The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) is a species of bird that can be found in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. It lives in grasslands, prairies, and deserts, feeding on insects and seeds. Most of the time, Western Meadowlark is easier to hear than see.

  • The Western Meadowlark is a bird that belongs to the lark family.
  • It is also considered a ground-feeding bird, which eats on or near the ground.
  • They can be seen throughout Montana during the spring and summer months.
  • This species grows between seven and eight inches long from its head to tail feathers.
  • This species has brown wings with white spots on them as well as white outer tail feathers that contrast against their brown inner ones.
  • Their appearance could be easy to identify when looking for certain places around Montana, such as parks where people may go during the summertime.
  • They have been observed to follow cattle around pastures for food scraps dropped by cowboys.
  • It’s not just about having great looks, though—these Western Montana birds also happen to be smart enough to avoid predators by hiding in tall grasses with its long tail sticking up as an indicator of danger coming near them.
  • They produce beautiful sounds, and these birds also have an extraordinary sense of hearing. It allows them to quickly pick up any signs of danger without even needing their eyesight most times.

How Did Western Meadowlark Become Montana’s State Bird?

The Western Meadowlark, MT state bird, was legislated in March 1931. The bird was chosen for its beautiful song, often heard throughout much of Montana during the summer months—especially near lakes and rivers where it nests.

In 1917, the legislature adopted the Western Meadowlark as the state bird. They did this because of their love for all things Montanan, especially larks.

And also because it was a popular song at the time and seemed like an excellent addition to the official list of things they have in their beautiful state.

The Western Meadowlark serves as a symbol for two other states: Wyoming and South Dakota.

In addition, there are subspecies of meadowlarks found in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico that were formerly thought to be distinct species. However, they were later reclassified as simply being different subspecies of the Western Meadowlark that are genetically similar.

What Does Montana’s State Bird Look Like?

The Western Meadowlark is a medium-sized songbird, with males larger than females.

A male and a female Western Meadowlark

The male Western Meadowlark has a black head and throat, brown back, yellow underbelly and tail, black bill, and brown eyes.

Females have more white on their underparts than males do; they also have buffy patches on their backs in the springtime.

How Do These Western Meadowlarks Behave?

state-bird-for-montana

Montana was filled with tea-kettle sounds that the Western Meadowlarks produced in the morning. They were primarily active in daylight.

Eastern Meadowlarks are friendly yet cautious. If there were any available food they could eat in a human’s backyard, they would take it from the ground. However, male Western Meadowlarks were protective. They sing to protect and mark their territory.

They were smart enough to hide in high bushes when sensing danger. They do not just sing for fun but also sing to indicate nearing risk.

Western Meadowlarks fly in a specific sequence from rapid fluttering to short glides. They usually flew low to keep their eyes from possible prey, mainly insects and worms.

Where Can We Find Western Meadowlark?

Western Meadowlarks are found throughout Montana. They don’t migrate, but you can find them in various habitats: from open fields to shrublands.

Western Meadowlarks live in small groups and eat seeds, insects, and other food items they find on the ground.

At specific months of the year (especially during their breeding season), they were commonly seen on top of lamps or fence posts and looking for a possible mate.

This species was abundant in meadows, vast grasslands, and open fields with low-growing vegetables. During winter, they might be in mixed flocks with other starlings and species of birds.

Most of the time, people would mostly hear them than see them. The sound that Western Meadowlark produced was soothing and irresistible.

Montanan could listen to the beautiful sound they make in springtime throughout much of North America!

Conclusion

What is the state bird of Montana? The state bird of Montana is the Western Meadowlark. This bird was chosen because it can be found across Montana and is even the mascot for Montana State University in Bozeman.

The Western Meadowlark has brown feathers with black stripes on its back, making them well-camouflaged against tall grasses they like to perch on while hunting insects.

They also have bright yellow bellies and white markings around their eyes. The sound they produced sounded like tea kettles, and their sound would be imprinted along with Montana forever.

5/5 - (3 votes)
Clinton-Atkins


Clinton Atkins

Author

Hi, I'm Clinton. Rocky and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.

You May Also Like

what bird eats ticks

What Bird Eats Ticks? – List of 7 Species (w/ Photos)

Ticks are tiny bugs that spark big fears. They are known to be carriers of ...

how to keep cats away from bird feeders

How to Keep Cats Away From Bird Feeders? – 7 Methods

Nothing better represents the connoisseurs of comfort and a fluff of sunshine more than a ...

how much does a talking parrot cost

How Much Does a Talking Parrot Cost? (Updated in 2022)

Are you planning on getting a cheap parrot? Then, you are probably searching for “how ...

how much does it cost to trim a bird beak

How Much Does It Cost to Trim a Bird Beak? (2022 Updated)

For birds to be healthy, they need a proper diet, a clean environment, and suitable ...

how to trim a bird's beak

How to Trim a Bird’s Beak Properly Without Hurt?

A bird’s beak is an essential part of avian species. Birds use them for many ...

why is bird poop white

Why is Bird Poop White? – 3 Main Reasons

Birds make our planet a little bit more melodic and colorful. These feathered friends are ...