Severe weather can cause birds to abandon normal foraging habits and switch to more opportunistic behaviors. We report 47 incidents of Western Meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta) consuming five bird species during a spring snowstorm on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming, including four previously undocumented species. Over half (57%) of our observations were of meadowlarks scavenging dead birds, 13% were of meadowlarks preying on live birds, and in 30% of the cases we could not determine how consumed birds died. Interestingly, the species most frequently depredated by meadowlarks, Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), is larger than any avian species previously known to be preyed on by meadowlarks. Our observations suggest that meadowlarks may be more capable and frequent predators of adult birds than previously recognized.
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