Cold Feet ...

Barb Miller

Berthoud, Colorado, United States

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Berthoud, Colorado May 12, 2010
Black-billed Magpie – PIca pica

The beauty of this bird is too often overlooked because its raucous and aggressive demeaner overshadows its gorgous panda-like plumage. The long, shiny tail of the Black-billed Magpie is one of the longest of any North American bird, and its dark plumage reflects a surprising spectrum of colors from the sun.

Magpies are some of the most exceptional architects that live in Colorado. The elaborate nest that these birds construct is often found in a spruce tree, but a deciduous tree or an iron bridge can also serve their purpose. Constructed of branches and held together with mud, the domed compartment conceals and protects the eggs and young from harsh weather and predation. It is so well constructed that abandoned nests remain in trees for years, and they are often reused by non-nest builders, such as owls.

Although the wonderful adaptable magpie might create an annoyance at times with its loud voice and aggresive tactics, it adds a flavor to our cities and rural areas that is distinct and noteworthy.

The magpie is smaller than a crow; sexes similar; long, long black tail, black head, breast and back; rounded; black and white wings; black undertail coverts; black bill and white belly.

Olympus E-520 Zuiko Lens 70 – 300MM

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Artwork Comments

  • LaFleureRouge1
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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