Western Meadowlarks require expansive grasslands for foraging and nesting. They may also use pastures or other open areas with low-lying vegetation. They prefer sites with high structural diversity, a mix of grasses and forbs, and vegetative cover <25 cm in height. Males commonly use scattered shrubs, trees, or fence posts as singing perches.
Western Meadowlarks have large home ranges and are sensitive to loss, degradation, and fragmentation of grasslands. Meadowlarks are vulnerable to nest predation from raccoons, cats, and dogs. Adult meadowlarks are hunted by raptors. Human disturbance and activities (e.g., mowing) can cause meadowlarks to abandon nests.
Conduct comprehensive surveys in the Willamette Valley. Evaluate meadowlark productivity in response to prairie restoration. Conduct demographic studies in altered prairie-oak habitat, such as pasture, hay fields, airports, and urban and residential park-like oak woodlands and forests.
Maintain and/or restore grassland habitat, especially large expanses (e.g., >100 acres). Promote overall structural diversity in grasslands: limit the cover of trees and shrubs (<10%), ensure a relatively high percent cover of native forbs (>10%) and bare ground (>5%), and provide good representation of all height classes. Increase plant diversity to promote greater insect diversity. Control key non-native plants, including reed canarygrass. Minimize disturbance during the breeding season (April 15-July 15).