2022—In Full View

The Yellow-billed Magpies were not in evidence when I walked through the park early yesterday morning. They often forage in the nearby streets or roost out of view high up in the Blue Oaks so I don’t always see them. Recently they’ve started refurbishing their huge nests and I’ve watched them select twigs to weave into their existing nests. There aren’t as many Yellow-billed Magpies in the park as there were 20 years ago when I participated in a UC Davis study on the effects of West Nile virus on these interesting birds. At that time, there were seven nests in the park that I monitored and in the end, they had 23 offspring. Since then, the park has changed significantly. Many of the oaks, including three that had nests, were sacrificed so tennis courts could be built for the community and the high school that was built at the edge of the park. A few of the giant oaks have succumbed to age or vandalism, one toppling just a few months ago after someone built a fire in a crevice at its base. But fortunately, there are still a couple of visible Magpie nests in the remaining trees. I think there are about a dozen birds in this Magpie flock. I hope they will continue to thrive. This shot is from my visit a couple of days ago.

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