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Black-billed Magpie
 

Pica hudsonia

*Very conspicuous bird. Occupies most of Western North America. Year-round resident. Regarded by some as among the most intelligent of birds.

* Like other members of the Crow and Jay family, it predates the young and eggs of other birds, but this is only a small part of its diet. One study showed that songbird density actually increased with increasing magpie density. Picks ticks off cattle, deer, moose, like the Oxpecker of Africa. But may also pick at wounds on cattle, garnering some dislike from ranchers.

* Makes very large covered nests of sticks and mud each year. Old nests may be used by owls, foxes, and by small birds as shelter from storms. Prefers thickets, riparian areas, grasslands, sagebrush, and agricultural areas.

* Feeds primarily on the ground for insects, acorns, carrion, voles, mice, and dog-food left unattended.

 
  Photo by Greg Gillson, The Bird Guide, Inc. Photo can be viewed at http://thebirdguide.com/digiscoping/photos/black_billed_magpie.htm