The American Magpie

What’s that black and white bird with the long tail?


They’re kinda hard to miss in the Garden.  


This is the black-billed magpie - we just call them magpies.  Some call them pests.  They are the American magpie and they are from the crow family.  They hang out in the western United States.

While mostly black and white, on the wings an tail you can catch a glimpse of iridescent blue.  Gorgeous.  Their tale makes up half of their total body length.  In cattle country, you can see them landing on the backs of the cows to clean the bugs from them.


You’ll see them everywhere in the park - flying and walking around eating bugs. 

Rare among birds, it builds a nest with a roof.  And two doors since it’s so long it can’t turn around in the nest.  They lay six or seven eggs at a time and, once done with the nest, do not return.  They leave it for others to use.

Watch for these nests in the trees in the Garden.  You’ll see them, especially in the late fall and winter.  They’re more obvious then.

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