The Western meadowlark is the official state bird of the state of Montana. The state of Montana chose the Western meadowlark to be its official state bird in 1930. Montana used an unusual method of choosing its state bird. The state had Montana schoolchildren vote for the state bird and those schoolchildren chose the Western meadowlark.
The state of Montana officially made the Western meadowlark its state bird back in 1931. The state of Montana did so via an act of the Montana Legislature. Essentially, the state of Montana adopted the Western meadowlark as its state bird because the state's schoolchildren chose it.
You would probably expect that each state has a different state bird, but some of them actually share the same state bird. This is the case for the Western meadowlark. As previously mentioned, it is the state bird of Montana. However, the Western meadowlark is also the state bird of five other states: Wyoming, Oregon, Kansas, North Dakota, and Nebraska. This is one major fact that sets the Western meadowlark apart from many other state birds.
The first notable physical characteristic of Western meadowlarks is that they have yellow underparts when they are adults. You will also see that they have a black V on their chest. Additionally, Western meadowlarks have white flanks that also have some black streaks. The upper portions of the bird are brown for the most part, but these areas do also contain black streaks, as well.
The bills of Western meadowlarks are long and pointed. These birds have striped heads with black and light-brown bands. The Western meadowlark also has a wingspan of 16 inches.
After the Western meadowlarks have arrived at the breeding ground, the female then builds the nest on the ground. The female will build the nest somewhere on the ground in a concealed location. The nests vary in complexity from a simple cup to a structure with a partial roof and a runway stretching out from the entrance to the nest. The female will lay the eggs at daily intervals.
The female does not start incubating the eggs until after she has laid the final egg. The female incubates the eggs for between 13 and 15 days. After this incubation period, the eggs take one to two days to hatch. The female Western meadowlark is the only one that broods the Western meadowlark chicks.