|Western Meadowlark. Ramona, California. October 30, 2016. Greg Gillson.|
In my lifetime I have seen these wonderful birds with their loud and joyously bubbly songs virtually eliminated as breeding birds from the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. I know this is true because even the European Starlings in western Oregon don't imitate Western Meadowlarks any more as they frequently did in the past--the last starlings to have heard meadowlarks have evidently all died of old age.
Meadowlarks can be found breeding still in the sagebrush and open ranch lands of eastern Oregon, and found in western Oregon in winter.
Here in San Diego they breed in some native grasslands in the foothill. Such is the case at the Ramona Grasslands Preserve where I photographed this bird. Admittedly, though, this bird is likely a visitor from elsewhere that had joined the large flocks gathered here for winter. Birds in the center of the continent migrate south into Mexico, but many more move west to winter in milder areas, such as coastal dunes and lowland pastures along the West Coast.
So even though they are less common now, you can still see them if you drive the roads through open farm country, especially in winter.