I can never go to too long without posting a few magpie photos.
There’s no middle ground with magpies – most folks seem to either love them or loathe them. They’re noisy, mischievous, smart, arrogant and cheeky. They sometimes steal songbird eggs which vilifies them with many bird lovers, they’re notorious for stealing dog food off of back porches and patios, suburban birds often begin their raucous cacophony at dawn which shortens many a good nights sleep and they endlessly torment pet dogs and cats. The list of reasons to dislike them seems endless with some folks.
But I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve spent countless hours watching and photographing them on Antelope Island and in my own back yard and they always seem to display behaviors that I find fascinating. And because of their deep blacks and bright whites they’re truly a challenge to photograph well. How could I not love’m?
So I had to present a couple of photos of them this morning to get my magpie fix. Each of these shots was taken within the last week on Antelope island.
1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in
These birds are still working on refurbishing an old magpie nest so they present me with many opportunities as they come and go with nesting material. They’ve mostly completed the dome of the nest so they aren’t hauling big sticks anymore – instead they’re bringing in mostly very small twigs and dried grass to line the interior nest cup. This bird is leaving the nest after just such a delivery.
The light on the face of this bird seems just a little odd to me, making it appear as if it has a deeper black mask between its eye and bill. It doesn’t.
1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in
I caught the light on this bird just right to get significant iridescence on the wing and tail. The upper part of the domed nest can be seen at lower right.
The settings for these shots aren’t particularly attractive because there’s not much green spring growth yet so the colors are those of dead vegetation from last year. But by the time things green up these birds will be on eggs inside the domed nest and there’ll be significantly fewer opportunities to photograph them.
So I take what I can, when I can.