Thursday, July 28, 2011

One bird, duly identified

Reporting in from Transcend, again. Tom's conference ends this afternoon, so we'll be off to Calgary tomorrow.

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.


CJDevall said...

It's always the pretty ones... You might enjoy Birdbrain (Johana Sinisalo) now, if you haven't already read it. The Kiwi version of this bird is one main character. -Carrie

Timmi Duchamp said...

Thanks, Carrie-- So I guess that "Birdbrain" is meant literally. Wow. I love the idea of a bird as a main character. Definitely need to check this one out.

Josh said...

Of the books I've read by Belted Kingfisher, I like The Poisonwood Bible best.