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.

1 comment:

~Val said...

This last is one of the most fun photos you've taken. Great capture!