Black-billed Magpie

Alyce Taylor

Joined December 2008

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Artist's Description

Maybe he was looking for a snack, or maybe a shiny bauble, but this black-billed magpie was as interested in me as I was in him.

Captured in Indian Battle Park, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Taken with a Canon Rebel XSi using a 75-300mm lens @ 300mm, 1/400 sec., f/7.1, ISO 800. No post-Processing.

A common and very conspicuous bird of western North America, the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) is found in urban as well as rural areas. Its bold black-and-white pattern and long tail make it easy to identify.

Magpies thrive in wide-open spaces, leaving the deep forests to their crow and raven cousins. Magpies flourished with, and then declined with the great bison herds of earlier days. But these adaptable birds have returned in numbers with cattle and people.

Like all corvids the Black-billed Magpie is an opportunistic omnivore hunting or foraging for seeds, fruit, insects, carrion, eggs and occasionally the nestlings of other birds. They enjoy suet, peanuts and other treats at feeders, and are quick to exploit any pet food left outdoors.

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