2022—That Yellow Beak

One bird is unique to my home, the Central Valley of California and it lives no other place. It is a bird I love. Even if you’re not from the Central Valley, it might look familiar because the Black-billed Magpie is ubiquitous in at least half of the US, as far east as Nebraska and Minnesota and as far north as Alaska. But it’s not a Black-billed Magpie. Look closely and you’ll see that this bird has a bright yellow beak. It is, not surprisingly, called the Yellow-billed Magpie. I went up to the park yesterday to practice hand holding my long lens. It was almost noon and we had a bright sunny day, not the best time for photography. We also had a high wind advisory so I was contending with 25 MPH winds and trying to keep my hair out of my eyes so I could shoot. Many members of the flock of Magpies that live in the park were grazing on the freshly mowed lawn. Two park guys were mowing the weeds (and incidentally all of the budding wildflowers). They were kicking up billows of dust that soon forced me out of the park. I was hoping for flight shots but the winds were too gusty for the birds to fly more than a foot or two. Before I left, I managed to get a few shots of these gregarious birds perched on a fallen oak.