I've identified the bird I mentioned in my On the Road, in Canada post. It's a black-billed magpie. The image to the left is thanks to the Canku Ota site. In their description of these birds is the following characterization:
Well-known as "camp-robbers", the magpies belong to the same family as crows, ravens and jays. They adapt well to people and take advantage of anything left unattended in a camp. They've even been known to go inside of tents!!The description mentions their "scolding call," which to my ear sounds like something between a Steller's Jay and a Belted Kingfisher, maybe with a dash of Northern Flicker thrown in. "Magpie," of course, is a bird I've been encountering in my reading since childhood. Now I've actually seen one in the flesh. It's a little like hearing someone use a word I knew from my reading but had never before heard pronounced and was silently giving it the wrong pronunciation. Haven't had that kind of experience in a long, long time.