And were back! You are getting blitzed with posts at the moment because I’m taken care of some family matters which requires me to be in a place without that wonderful time waster .. a TV. Luckily we invested in a hotspot allowing me to stay current with the world. That doesn’t really take a lot of time – this group of people is killing that group of people, another group of people are spouting lies and still another is trying to take my rights away. Pretty much sums up my view of the current chaos around the world and in the States. Once that perception is confirmed I can jump into my little corner of the Internet and escape a bit. Way I see it, it’s a win win. Now I remember how my stay in Shenandoah went, but back then I didn’t even have cell phones – (ask Linda about our critter experience while at a payphone one night there) the horror, the horror. Today we are in a better digital age which allows me to bring you this
If you do not recognize this bird you haven’t been to the Northwest. The Black-Billed Magpie are very populous in that region and thanks to their colorful palette are quite easy to identify. I say this with a chuckle since I apparently had no clue what they were the first time we came upon them (link here). Of course, that might be more due to the crap ass shots I was able to capture – I kinda cringe every time I dive back into the blog archives knowing my photography skills needed some serious work back then. Glad to say there is marked improvement these days. The following shot is one of my favorites from the Yellowstone vacation shoot.
Hit the jump to view a few more shots of the Black-Billed Magpie
Technically, this particular shot came in the South Dakota region but I count all to and from shots as part of the overall vacation destination shoot. These birds are extremely active and quite frankly can make quite the racket. The Cornell site provided some new insights I was not aware of. The Magpie displays a “funeral” behavior. If they come upon a dead colleague they will begin calling out until other Magpies arrive who all join in a raucous calling that continues for 10 to 15 minutes. After the display is over they move on silently. I’ve heard elephants also display this concept of an “emotional loss”.
Additional tidbits include the fact they mate for life and are apparently quite jealous of any other Magpies trying to move in on their ladies. Cornell implied they were common targets for Raptors when out and about on their own, but when threatened they will mob together and take them on as a group. They enjoy a Least a Concern conservation status but were in decline from 1996 to 2010. A lot of this stabilization can be attributed to them now being protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Yeah!).
If you haven’t had the chance to witness these birds in person you owe yourself a trip out West. Hopefully you will execute better than I did on my first attempt to get them in the tin. Just noticed that previous post also had the shots of the Spotted Towhee that my brother gives me a hard time about since those shots were the only ones available for my North American Bird Life List. A few is a screw up, a whole bunch is a style! That’s all I have boys and girls. With this post I can officially upgrade my shots on the bird list ridding my gallery of those previous awful shots. Just need to go capture some better Towhees to complete the craptastic purge.