Sitting in Estes: Black-billed magpie

Last Lent I did a series called “Sitting,” just observing what was happening in my backyard. I sat earlier this month in Estes Park, Colorado. Here’s what I saw:

I’m a sucker for birds, especially anything in the corvid family (crows, magpies, jays). I first discovered these birds when I was in Estes in August and wondered, “What are those black-and-white crows with the blue tails?” Well, they’re black-billed magpies.

Hint: If you need help identifying a bird, go to, which is run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Someday, when I finish my crow story, I’m going to add in some of these guys.


  1. Nice.

    We have lots and lots of magpies here in Alberta — they like to scoop up the seeds the chickadees drop out of the feeder in my backyard. My desk overlooks the backyard (that’s my writing desk, not my working desk which looks out over the front from my office window) — I can sit for hours and watch the birds — thanks for this. You made me smile and there’s this cool connection — I love birds too! 🙂

  2. One of the things I dearly miss about our house is the bird bath. I loved to watch them come and take a little drink or have a little bath. It is one of the first things I want to get for the new house!

  3. Now. You know I’m a sucker for birds too. And I have never seen one of these guys! I bet they don’t venture this far east. Maybe I need to meet you in Colorado sometime :). How about Texas?

  4. Agreed… watching birds at the feeder, in the always-fresh bath in my flower bed is a powerful experience. I am struggling to understand the “pecking order” of things and what I have to assume is God’s original plan. Our rescue Lab–18 months in our loving care–brought in a (thankfully deceased) bird as an offering this morning. I freaked out. I know God has a plan. I also know there are many times I don’t understand His plan for me or in the nature of things. BUT and HOWEVER, I am eagerly waiting for you to finish your crow story. Your live crows are wonderful.
    Thank you for always posting something that touches my world. 🙂

  5. Totally love birds, too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a magpie in real life — cool with the black and white, eh? I learned a new word from you today, too: corvid. Thanks for that!