Friday, February 19, 2010

"Magpie" - Photo of the Day - February 18th, 2010

Magpie - Photo of the Day - February 18th, 2010
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A black-billed magpie forages for food in short, dry grass.

Captured in Indian Battle Park in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

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A common and very conspicuous bird of western North America, the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) is found in urban as well as rural areas. Its bold black-and-white pattern and long tail make it easy to identify.

Magpies thrive in wide-open spaces, leaving the deep forests to their crow and raven cousins. Magpies flourished with, and then declined with the great bison herds of earlier days. But these adaptable birds have returned in numbers with cattle and people.

Like all corvids the Black-billed Magpie is an opportunistic omnivore hunting or foraging for seeds, fruit, insects, carrion, eggs and occasionally the nestlings of other birds. They enjoy suet, peanuts and other treats at feeders, and are quick to exploit any pet food left outdoors.

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