I have long read about magpies, without knowing anything about them first-hand. I’ve even used them as metaphors (feeling a personal affinity for a bird that can’t resist tin-foil, bits of hardware, and other shiny odds and ends!). It is a joy to finally be in a place where they are active.
My impressions thus far: magpies are large, strikingly pretty, and perhaps slightly ungainly. They are early risers. They stay close to the ground/trees and don’t fly very high or often. They are creative, vocal, gregarious, curious — AND CHECK OUT THE LENGTH OF THOSE TAIL-FEATHERS! Almost doubles the length of the bird!
In other news, while I was on a morning ride-along with Enforcement Ranger Loyd Griswold, in the North Unit, we saw several BLUEBIRDS in the Conata Basin. I mistook them for larks at first, but Loyd let me use his field glasses to see them in detail. “Bluebird of friendliness” — as the song by They Might Be Giants puts it. Build a little birdhouse in your soul, everybody, the bluebirds are returning!