"Black and White and Smart All Over"

Black-billed Magpie

        When I married my Honey, I started spending a lot of time doing some of his favorite things like hiking, hunting, and camping. He has climbed every mountain and forged every canyon of northern Utah. Oh the places Iíve been, the beauty Iíve seen, and.... the things Iíve learned! There are mountain ranges and canyons you never go to... during the tick season. Hunting partners must carefully examine each other for ticks.... after each hunt. And, even after all your care in the field, a magpiehot shower back home can produce more ticks in the bottom of the shower. A lot of these "ticky" areas are now being developed and sold to unsuspecting buyers for mountain homes and cabin sights. Wow, if they only knew what comes with the beautiful scenery, pine trees and scrub oak.

        If you enjoy spending time outdoors, no doubt you have a picture in your mind of a Magpie standing on the back of a Horse, Cow, or Sheep. But do you have the image of a Magpie hob-knobbing with Deer and Elk? They perform the same great service for wild animals as they do for the domestic ones. They feed upon ticks that abound on large animals, ridding them from those awful, harmful pests. The next time you see a Black-billed Magpie, keep in mind that each one consumes a huge number of ticks each year, and forgive the rest of the Magpieís short comings.

        Magpies are a lot like small feathered flying bears; they eat every thing, theyíre into everything, they are soooo inquisitive, and they have a great survival sense. Itís almost an impossibility to sneak up on a flock of Magpies! Next time you are in the mountains, north of Washington County where Magpies hang out, enjoy the antics of these black and white and smart all over hunters and remember.... more Magpies - less ticks. Hooray for Magpies!

        The elegance of a Black-billed Magpie is a challenge to capture, and Brenda Rusnell has done it so well with colored pencils. Thank you Brenda. For more information about Magpies, or if you just want to "talk birds", call Marilyn Davis, 435-673-0996.

        If you wish to view more Artists and Birds articles, visit our weekly page here where there is a list of articles in the table at the bottom.

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