A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Black-billed Magpie and American Crow
Two other very common birds in the Western Rockies are the Magpie (which can be found year round in the Mountains from New Mexico to Alaska) and the the American Crow (which everyone, with the exception of the extreme Southwest, has in their neighborhood all year long). The photo (Below, 7-4-10) of the Black-billed Magpie was taken in Silverthorne, CO, along the bike path which runs through town and around Lake Dillon and joins up with a huge network of bike paths throughout the County. Magpies have beautiful black, white, and blue feathers, which are very striking when they fly.
You can always identify a Magpie as it flies by - with the flash of white and blue feathers in its primaries (wingtips) and scapulars (shoulders). Although the quality of the photos has much to be desired - I tried to capture a Magpie in flight to show you the brilliant wings - all three photos (Below, 7-9-10, Rocky Mountain Nat. Park) were taken in succession with the Sports "burst" mode.
The American Crow (Below, 7-6-10) was posing on a fence rail for me on the same bike trail as the Magpie in the very top picture.
One of my favorite photos from last year was also in Rocky Mountain National Park in a meadow in the valley below Moraine Park campground, where the Magpies seem to have colonized a particular area - as they were all over the place and made it clear to any non-Magpie (including me) that this was their territory. While I was wandering through Magpieville, a Crow happened to venture in. The Magpies were none too pleased as they began squawking at the Crow, who seemed to relish in infuriating them. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and (Below, 7-3-09) I captured the Crow and a Magpie having a staring contest. Although you can't see the expression on the Crow's face, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying taunting the Magpie, which you can see does not have a look of content.
Eventually, the Magpies were successful in driving off the intruder.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought a Sigma 150-500mm.and finally sold that one and replaced it with a Sigma 150-600mm, my current birding lens.