The Black-billed Magpie is Not Colorado’s State Bird


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.

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9 thoughts on “The Black-billed Magpie is Not Colorado’s State Bird”

  1. I thought so too, and would vote in favor of the magpie. They are so fun to watch along I-25. But from the official State of Colorado Web site:
    The Lark Bunting, Calamospiza melanocoryus Stejneger, was adopted as the official state bird on April 29, 1931.

  2. i hate magpies they kill all the little song birds eat my animal food and steal my chicken eggs right out of the coop HATE THEM

  3. Love watching the magpies in the morning out on our back deck. Started leaving unsalted peanuts for them on the table out back. They now expect me to put out food for them every morning. Fun to watch.

  4. First time in Colorado and to see these big black and white beautiful birds !!! Put some over ripe berries out — hoping they come to feed !

  5. We had our first encounter with a magpie yesterday at the gym where they were trying to eat a LIVE bunny! It was so sad to see. The mama bunny kept trying to get her baby back but those squawking birds wouldn’t stop. A passer-byer scooped up the baby bunny (who was ok)…. not a fan of those magpies now.

  6. Where do you get your information? The lark bunting is our state’s bird. I love both of them but since west nile we don’t see much of magpies anymore.

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