Now the Oregon Legislature, without any public outreach or engagement, is considering a resolution that would push the Meadowlark aside and replace it with an Osprey. Ospreys are incredible birds, but to disregard the Meadowlark without any public engagement or consideration for its decline in our state sends a terrible message. The legislature even rejected a proposal by Audubon chapters across Oregon to sponsor a new contest among Oregon’s school children.
At the time the Meadowlark was selected by Oregon’s school children, it was among the most widely distributed and abundant birds in Oregon. Today however, it is much less common, especially west of the Cascades, due to loss of the grassland habitats on which it depends. The legislature has repeatedly failed to consider legislation in recent sessions which would have helped recover meadowlarks and other grassland species. Its declining status should not be cause to sweep it aside as our state symbol; it should be cause to redouble our commitment to protecting it and its habitat.
Also, any attempt to change the state bird (or any other designated state symbol) should be done in a manner the helps educate and engage the community. It would truly be a missed opportunity if a change like this were done entirely within the confines of the Oregon State Legislature without any effort at outreach, engagement and education. Oregon has a tremendous birding community and birders contribute millions of dollars to Oregon’s economy each year. Birding remains one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the United States. If a change were to be considered, it should be done in a manner that engages and inspires people and especially children, across Oregon.
Please help us send a strong message to the legislature that the Meadowlark should be retained as Oregon’s official state bird and that rather than frivolous legislation aimed at changing our state bird, they should commit to passing legislation that helps restore the Western Meadowlark and other grassland species to abundance.
Click here to send a letter to members of the Oregon House where the legislation is currently being considered. You can simply add your name and address or you can adapt it as you see fit.