I took a drive up into Dauphin County today to check out the Western Meadowlark and was not disappointed. As soon as I got there I heard the somewhat strange song of the Western Meadowlark and it seemed pretty close. Of course it took me a while to find it, but once I did I was able to set up the scope and get excellent views and compare it to nearby Eastern Meadowlarks.
In comparison to nearby Eastern Meadowlarks, I was able to note several differences which I think made it relatively easy to pick out. The Eastern Meadowlarks had a much darker, almost black, eyeline and facial pattern while the Western Meadowlark’s facial pattern seemed pale and indistinct. I could also pick out the difference in malar area, with the Western Meadowlark having yellow and the Eastern having white.
A third feature that helped me pick out the Western Meadowlark was the amount of black streaking on its side. The Western Meadowlark was much less heavily streaked with a spotted effect compared to the Eastern Meadowlarks.
Unfortunately these pictures don’t show off these distinguishing characteristics except for the yellow malar so you will all just have to go check it out for yourself. You can also check out this comparison page for more illustrations of the differences.