Black-billed Magpie in flight over Antelope Island State Park

Black-billed Magpie in flightBlack-billed Magpie in flight – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR at 380mm, natural light, not baited

In all my visits to Antelope Island State Park I don’t think there has been a single time when I haven’t seen or heard Black-billed Magpies. There are times I don’t see the other year round residents of the island including the Bison and Pronghorn but I can always count on seeing magpies.

Black-billed Magpies have rather noisy calls and some people find that annoying but I don’t mind their calls at all. They are elegant looking birds with their strongly marked black and white plumage, their long tails and the flashes of iridescence in certain light. In this image I was able to capture that iridescence in almost all of the magpie’s dark plumage as it flew away from it’s nest with mud on it’s bill.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing birds. My approach is to photograph the birds without disturbing their natural behavior. I don't bait, use set ups or call them in. I use Nikon gear and has multiple camera bodies and lenses.


  1. Love the wig position! I think I addicted to these birds!!!

  2. Mia, you just keep photographing my favorite birds! How did you know? ;-) Love this flight shot!

  3. Such a treat to see a bird I’ve only read of! The black with white feathers about the neck remind me of a choir robe – maybe appropriate for a singer?

  4. Great shot! It is o.k. to be noisy if you are iridescent and allow photographers to capture it.

  5. Love your magpie – and can’t believe how different they are to our birds of the same name. I think I prefer the call of ours though – it spells home to me.

  6. Gorgeous picture! I like magpies :)

  7. Great inflight shot. My wife and I think they are beautiful and they often come to the suit feeder in the backyard tree. But some people (including my cousin) don’t like them.

  8. I echo Montanagirl on this one Mia. Beautiful capture of the iridescent blue and green the Magpie offers up. We have Yellow-billed Magpie within a few miles of my property here in Northern California and Black-billed within 50 miles but I have yet to get a decent in-flight shot of either one! I am green with envy ;-)

  9. Outstanding shot of the Magpie, Mia. I have a really hard time getting at all close enough to one of these birds for a decent shot.

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