Portraits of a Black-billed Magpie in a Snowstorm

/, Birds, Black-billed Magpies, Davis County, Utah/Portraits of a Black-billed Magpie in a Snowstorm

Portrait of a Black-billed Magpie in a SnowstormPortrait of a Black-billed Magpie in a Snowstorm – Nikon D810, f14, 1/640, ISO 2000, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

On the 27th of January I was able to take some portraits of a Black-billed Magpie adult and when I published the images I said:

It isn’t often that I am able to be so close to a Black-billed Magpie as I was yesterday morning on Antelope Island State Park but when I am that close I will take advantage of the situation. I only have a few portraits of an adult Black-billed Magpie and yesterday I was able to add several of them to my portfolio.

Who knew that just three days later I’d be able to take more portraits of a Black-billed Magpie but this time in a near-whiteout snowstorm?

Typically I wouldn’t have been out on Antelope Island in the conditions that were present yesterday, low light, fog and snow that was falling sideways but a friend from Florida, David Sparks, was visiting and had never been to Antelope Island so Ron, David and myself were out there in some pretty awful conditions to see what we might find. The first bird I raised my lens for yesterday was this Black-billed Magpie in a snowstorm near the visitor center.

Black-billed Magpie close up in a snowstormBlack-billed Magpie close up in a snowstorm – Nikon D810, f14, 1/500, ISO 2000, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I have to disclose that this Black-billed Magpie was perched on a trash container and a post right next to it the whole time I photographed it so you just never know what setting you might find a subject in to photograph but I know I will photograph them any way. The dark spot near the middle of the magpie’s eye is the pickup were were using as a mobile blind.

I like this high key look of these images, the snow on the bill and plumage of the magpie and how just a bit of the iridescent blues and greens add a tiny bit of color to images that are otherwise black and white.

The rest of my images from yesterday didn’t impress me much but I am quite fond of these.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover January 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I do worry about what these and the other birds that didn’t migrate do for food.

  2. Elephant's Child January 31, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Quite fond of these shots? Me thinks that some of Ron’s pickiness is rubbing off on you…

  3. Patty Chadwick January 31, 2016 at 8:30 am

    This wonderful creature must have been poking around in the snow, hoping to find just about anything to eat…it’s an even tougher life for wildlife in winter…

  4. Dave Sparks January 31, 2016 at 7:46 am

    correction – kindred souls

  5. Dave Sparks January 31, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Only kindred sould would take someone out to see some of their favorite birding sites in these conditions. I am most appreciative. Terrific images given the lighting – nice detail in darks and whites. The snow on the beak makes the images, IMHO.

  6. Jo Smith January 31, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Wonderful images, I espcially like the first one. Seems to be saying who is out in this weather that doesn’t have to be. I noticed that you use a 1.4x TC, do you mind sharing which one you use?

  7. Bob mcpherson January 31, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Beautiful imges, Mia,incredible detail.

  8. Kei January 31, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Love these! Especially with the white snowstorm background. He looks really unhappy about the weather in the first pic, lol!

  9. Nancy Collins January 31, 2016 at 6:03 am

    I am quite fond of these too! Love them!

Comments are closed.