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Savannah sparrows constitute one of several similar-sounding grassland species. Keith Corliss

Flight Lines: Understated sparrows synonymous with prairie

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Every school kid growing up in North Dakota learns of our state bird, the Western meadow-lark (Sturnella neglecta). It’s a robust specimen of grassland habitats that, no doubt, our early settlers were quite familiar with. It would have been hard to miss the bird with its bright yellow breast, its wide, black, foppish necklace and a penchant for perching on fence posts.

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