Did you know that magpies are considered to be one of the most intelligent animals in world and can recognize themselves in a mirror test?
Magpies can be found across Europe, Asia, and in western North America, but also in some areas of India, Pakistan and Tibet. While they have been given the same name, magpies in Australia are not related to the magpies found in the rest of the world.
The black-billed magpie, which is found in in the western half of North America, has a black and white body, with black areas on the wings and a tail that shows hints of iridescent blue or blue-green. The black-billed magpie’s long tail makes it one of only four North American songbirds whose tail makes up half or more of its total body length.
Black-billed magpies can be found in farmlands and suburban areas, as they prefer open areas with some trees. They can be very tolerant of humans, and will boldly scavenge food, eating insects, carrion, rodents, berries, nuts and eggs, but will also eat garbage and food meant for pets that has been left outside. They will even land on the backs of cattle to eat the pests on their bodies, or follow behind wolves or other predators to scavenge on the carcasses of the predator’s prey.
Black-billed magpies often mate for life, unless one magpie dies, and breed in late March to early July, with the female laying up to thirteen eggs. The black-billed magpie’s nest is built by both prospective parents. The female incubates the eggs for anywhere from 16-21 days, with the male feeding her throughout. The babies will fly 3-4 weeks after hatching, and will fly off to join other young magpies after about two months have passed.
As always, if you notice injured or orphaned wildlife, please call us at 403-946-2361.