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.



  1. Jane Chesebrough August 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Great reflections!

  2. Sherry in MT August 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm

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

  3. Elephant's Child August 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm

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

  4. Patty Chadwick August 2, 2014 at 8:28 am

    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. Lois Bryan August 2, 2014 at 6:41 am

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

  6. judy watson August 2, 2014 at 6:16 am

    I love this, Mia!

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