Catching this image was pure luck. I was walking on the western ridge looking at the hazy city when an unfamiliar bird crossed my view from south to north. Evidently it wanted its picture taken. It settled atop a coyote bush within camera range and posed. It showed me both sides of its head, but kept the best part, its breast feathers, pointed west, showing me only its back. Oh well.
There’s evidence to suggest that the Western Meadowlark breeds in the park in the spring season, when Parks management allows the grasses to grow tall enough to serve as nesting environment for this ground-nesting species. They’re sensitive to grassland disturbances, and it’s thought that their numbers are in decline in part due to replacement of native grasses by invasive exotics in many parts of the West. At this time, these birds are probably here for the same reason that other blackbirds (same family) are back: seeds galore, everywhere. Meadowlarks right now are big seed eaters; they’ll take insects as well, but in the autumn season, seeds lead their menu.