A teenage Black-billed Magpie

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.


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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 to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Jane Chesebrough

    Great reflections!

  2. Most teens look scruffy LOL Nice shot too. Flew over your area today wondering if I could see your beloved island.

  3. So different from our magpies – and so beautiful. Thank you.

  4. I collect feathers…and one of my favorites is a Magpie feather…white, outlined in black…beautiful!
    If you just saw this bird in low light, or were slightly nearsighted….and weren’t aware of the white, just saw the dark silhouette…and the corvid beak…and had a gun…that you were itching to fire…and shooting crows had been legalized……

  5. magnificent capture and timing on your part of the gorgeous markings!!

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