3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?
By far, the easiest way to tell a Western Meadowlark from an Eastern is by its song. But they do not always sing. How do you tell the difference? The area just behind the lower mandible (Bottom half of bill) is white on an Eastern, yellow on a Western. Also their tail feathers show a difference. The Eastern tail feathers are much darker in the center than the Western. Look at this page.
This is our poor neglected bird. Sturnella neglecta, or more commonly, Western Meadowlark. In 1805, Meriweather Lewis discovered this Meadowlark as being different from the more familiar one found in the east. As was generally done in those days, he shot one so he could study it. Though the idea makes me cringe, really, what tools did they have to look closely at the birds without killing them? We can now be grateful for the inventions of binoculars, cameras, and scopes.
Back on track now…
How is this bird neglected? Even though it was discovered in the early 1800’s, no one thought to give it a name until a later time.
“John James Audubon dubbed it neglecta (nee-GLEK-tah; Latin for neglected) because, he wrote in 1840, although “the existence of this species was known to the celebrated explorers of the west, Lewis and Clark, . . . no one has since taken the least notice of it.” From A Western Greeting
Though overlooked and unnamed by modern man. (The first man, Adam, was given the task to name all the animals), I am sure there were many people who still enjoyed the Western Meadowlark’s song.