The Thieving Black-Billed Magpie

The Black-billed Magpie is one of those stunningly gorgeous birds that stop you in your tracks. With their iridescent blue-green plumage, trailing tail feathers, and bright white accents, they’re quite the head turners – particularly if you happen to catch an overhead view of this bird in flight.

However, there are other people who are disappointed to see them since, when you examine their past behavior, they have quite a lengthy record of offenses.

If you have ever watched the opera La gassa ladra, also known as The Thieving Magpie, which was written in the early 1800s in Italian and translated into English, then you are aware that magpies already have a reputation for being cunning.

In the story “The Thieving Magpie,” a maid is almost put to death for stealing silver, but it is later found that the true thief was actually a thieving magpie that had been hoarding its valuables in a church tower all along.

Despite the fact that this is perhaps the most well-known example of these con artists, there are a few additional incidents of magpies being caught with sticky fingers, including the following:

  • The records kept by the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s describe how black-billed magpies brazenly strolled into the tents of the explorers and stole portions of food off the tables. In addition to this, they accompanied Native Americans on buffalo hunts, where they waited in anticipation to feast on any kills that were unsuccessful.
  • Magpie swarms have been observed surrounding and attacking owls, hawks, cats, and other types of predators in order to seize and steal the prey that has just been caught.
  • There is a more recent tale of a flock of Black-billed Magpies in Montana that found a not-so-obvious opening in a net that was supposed to deter them from raiding cherry trees. This net was intended to prevent them from doing so. “The robins and starlings were kept at a distance,” she said. But a day or two later, I heard a magpie uproar in the orchard, and when I investigated, I discovered four magpies having a fantastic time within the netting.

The Black-billed Kingfisher The magpie belongs to the family of birds known as corvids. Magpies are considered to have a high level of intelligence, just like other members of their family, such as jays, crows, and ravens. They are able to recognize themselves in a mirror, which is a significant signal of their human-like intelligence. Additionally, as the previous example demonstrates, they are able to solve difficulties that other birds find difficult.

The conflicting feelings that people have about black-billed magpies are reflected in the ways that they are portrayed in Native American animal folklore. In certain communities, they are viewed as loud and unpleasant gossipers, yet in others, they are seen as advisors who are always prepared with a brilliant answer.

In later years, the state of Idaho offered a reward for the capture of one of these birds because of allegations that it preyed upon livestock.

Birdwatchers today admire both their remarkable looks and their resourceful behaviors. Cracked corn, fruit, and sunflower seeds are some of the foods that the Black-billed Magpie will consume if you live on open terrain in the western United States. Put out a platform feeder in your backyard and fill it with Lyric Supreme Wild Bird Mix to entice birds to visit. You may receive an up-close and personal demonstration of just how cunning Black-billed Magpies can be!

The stunning photographs of the Black-Billed Magpie are as follows:

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