When Phil and I first started visiting Colorado we always got a chuckle out of the Magpie. It was everywhere…perched on some one’s car, walking in a parking lot, flying about, screeching at each other, looking for food…just plain everywhere. They reminded us of the wind ducks back east. When the wind blows hard, their wings stat going a mile a minute.
We always thought that the Black-billed Magpie is Colorado’s State Bird only to find out it is the Lark Bunting. Our bird book sums them up pretty well, ” The beauty of this bird is too often overlooked because its raucous and aggressive demeanor overshadows its gorgeous, panda-like plumage.”
The Magpie’s long, shiny, black tail is one of the longest of any bird in North America. Eating insects, ticks and garbage during the warmer months, the Magpies are scavengers, often depending on carrion to get through the harsh winters in the mountains.
One of the most interesting facts about the Magpie is that when they build their nests they put a roof on top and leave a hole on the side to enter and exit. With this roof on top, they don’t have to worry about another bird or animal stealing their eggs or their young. Pretty clever, huh?
PS Sorry to report that the Black-billed Magpie is not the Colorado state bird. The Lark Bunting is Colorado’s state bird. But the post got so many visits, I decided not to change it.