Saturday, June 17, 2017

Magpie Playground And Body Guards [Updated]

Parents are pretty aggressive about protecting their young, and birds are no exception.  There's a magpie nest not far from our house and now that the young can fly a bit, they've found our trees to be a great playground.  Here are two young ones.  There are several more.

The easiest way to distinguish them from the adults is there short tails.   They're starting to make quite a racket which is what got me to look out the window.    And today when I went out to get the mail, the noise got exploded as I opened the glass outer door.  

An adult got between me and one of the young ones screeching.  

Another flew down at me from the other side.  (I'm not as foolhardy as it may look.   I had the storm door for protection.)

It sat on the railing a couple of feet from me and glared.  

Meanwhile the other one found some food on the roof.  (An old mountain ash berry?) and fed it to the young one in the tree.   It's practically placing it in the young's stomach!

From a little further back, here's another shot.

And when I tried to venture out, the two adults let me know I shouldn't.  

They are such beautiful birds.  In the sun the black shines blue and green.  But no one would ever call them song birds.  More like screech birds.  Unlike the larger, all black ravens, who have a whole repertoire of amazing sounds.

[UPDATE  3:20pm:  The young ones are now in the backyard.  I can see four at the same time.   The parents are giving them space to explore, but when I opened the back door, I could hear them screeching somewhere in the background.    One on the deck.

Another in a flower bed.

And two more up in a tree.


  1. Nice pics, but here in iowa if it is black and white it is either a skunk or,depending on actual size, a Holstein dairy cow. There are bob-o-links that are kinda black and..... buff maybe?

    In the lead story, just a short few years ago wingnuts would break windows and blame the Black guy in the WH.

    1. Thanks for the comments Mike. The magpie is so common here - and it stays all winter - that I forget about how truly beautiful it is, or that part of the beauty is its striking black and white contrast. What if animals were classified by colors? Then we'd put skunks and Holsteins and zebras and penguins and magpies in one family.


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