Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by Guillermina
Our birds native to Kansas feature is sure to interest residents of the Sunflower State! Scroll on to learn all about local avifauna!
Many readers might know Kansas as the home of tornadoes, Pizza Hut, and Dorothy. But these aren’t the only things that hail from the windiest state of America. Here is a selection of birds that dwell in that region. Oh, and like always, we’ve gathered lots of relevant information on the species on our list, so you know everything there is to these birds.
4 Of the Most Popular Birds Native To Kansas
The Western Meadowlark is a great favorite among the US states, as the official bird of six states. This record is beaten only by the Northern Cardinal, which is the official bird of seven. Researchers are alarmed to note that grassland birds (like the Meadowlark) native to Kansas are slowly but surely vanishing from the region.
The two versions can be told apart by some differences in their looks, but the most apparent contrast is between their songs. The Eastern Meadowlark sings in long, slow whistles. In contrast, the Western Meadowlark’s song is more complicated, like quick, confused twittering.
The songs are used for warning off romantic rivals as well as for wooing the ladies. Other than that, Western Meadowlarks are rather shy about displaying their musical talents while their Eastern family sings around ten times more songs than them.
These birds mainly feed on insects but also have a taste for berries and seeds. As grasslands vanish, their population is also declining. Eastern Meadowlarks are encouraged to nest by allowing patches of grass to be untouched or by postponing hay harvest until the broodlings have grown enough to fly away.
2. Northern Cardinal
This fireball is hot all across the United States of America. Being the state bird of the most extensive number of states – it’s also one of the most common backyard birds of Kansas.
It can be a welcome splash of color against a snowy background in the winters. Perhaps that’s why people tend to associate with warmth and hope. Its vibrant hues and lyrical song have made it well-loved among birdwatchers.
The dulcet tones serve several purposes; Northern cardinals communicate through singing and use it to mark their territory and attract a mate.
Many people consider their song to bring the happy news of spring. The US of A has paid them special attention, making it illegal to kill, own or cage them. So let these twitterers fly free and savor watching them pop in and out of your bird feeders at their own whim.
3. Henslow’s Sparrow
Henslow’s Sparrow is a low-profile bird with a snobbish taste. As a grassland species, it is among the Kansas birds under threat of disappearance from the state. They have a very particular requirement of a home, i.e., an undisturbed tall-grass prairie. However, as human encroachment on such lands increases, this species is pretty prone to the dangers of extinction.
Its tan little body is easily hidden in tall weeds, and unlike other birds, it would much rather walk or run than use its wings. It has an almost indistinguishable, short song, the shortest of any North America avian breed, which the ornithologist David Sibley likens to a “feeble hiccup.” However, this doesn’t stop the little musician from chanting whenever it pleases, which can be all night long!
4. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are undoubtedly among the most interesting birds to a layman due to being the smallest avian breed and possessing the exclusive ability to fly backward, upside down, and hover in mid-air.
They get their name because their rapid wingbeats produce a whirring or humming sound. Ruby-throated hummingbirds can flap their wings as much as eighty times a second!
The identification of this Kansas bird is possible by the crimson feathers that cover the male’s neck. The females don’t share this physical trait, however. Among hummingbirds, it is the only breed native to Kansas. Fun fact, this species helps in the process of cross-pollination too.
Everything about this fellow is tiny. Measuring up to no more than 3.5 inches from bill tip to tail, it weighs up to 0.2 ounces! But when it comes to turf, don’t expect it to pick on someone its own size!
This fast-thinking little athlete will buzz and zoom around larger predators to annoy or intimidate them into departing. Its legs are so small that it can only shuffle forward rather than walk or hop, although its talons are helpful in scratching its head.
Its courting ritual involves showing off by swooping and diving. Still, it is by no means a family man and only stays with a mate long enough to impregnate her.
Then it returns to the glory of bachelorhood while the single mother works to build a nest. Woven with moss, lichen, plant down, and fibers, as well as whatever else it can scavenge, the final product resembles something like a knob. The brood consists of two or three white eggs, barely larger than peas. The nestlings are fed insects by the mother.
Although its diet includes insects, a hummingbird has a strong sweet tooth (or beak)! It feeds on nectar from flowering plants by inserting its long slim beak into the flower and guzzling down the sap via its forked and stretchable tongue.
This is why their human admirers fill hummingbird feeders with sugar water composed of one part sugar to four parts water. However, the owner needs to be cautious that the sugar water is boiled. It’s also best to check on the nectar regularly because spoiled nectar can be toxic to hummingbirds.
They also have a good memory of their human well-wishers. That means they can return to their feeders after migrating back home. These birds are lovers of vibrant colors and feed on bright flowers that stand out against their background.
There are around 479 species on the official list of birds native to Kansas. Industrialization and deforestation have caused many members of the avian race to become threatened. But, it is heartening to see that bird-lovers still exist and that Kansas State is taking measures to ensure that its avian residents do not suffer the loss of their natural homes. This will help ensure the avifauna of Kansas continues to thrive in their natural habitat.
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