Young Black-billed MagpieYoung Black-billed Magpie – Nikon D7100, f9, 1/1250, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Right now on Antelope Island State Park teenaged birds are molting into their adult plumage including young Black-billed Magpies. The immature birds tend to look a little scruffy, some might even say they have a moth-eaten appearance, but I enjoy photographing them any way. This young Black-billed Magpie has almost all of its adult primary feathers and will soon replace the worn one closest to the twig it is perched on. The tail is noticeably shorter than an adult magpie but that too will soon change.  The eye color will also change from the dark violet-blue to black.

By winter this bird will have molted into the adult plumage we are so familiar with.