Loess Hills Audubon Society exists to educate individuals and the general public, to
enjoy and promote birding, to support ornithology, and to be an advocate for wild areas and environmental issues.
"Loess Hills Audubon Society is a Chapter of National Audubon Society, Inc."
Last Month's Bird Of The Month
|August 2014 Bird Of Month
Magpies are familiar and entertaining birds of western North America. They sit on fenceposts
and road signs or flap across rangelands, their white wing patches flashing and their very long
tails trailing behind them. This large, flashy relative of jays and crows is a social creature,
gathering in numbers to feed at carrion. They’re also vocal birds and keep up a regular stream
of raucous or querulous calls. Black-billed Magpies are slightly larger than jays with much
longer, diamond-shaped tails and heavier bills. In flight, their wings seem to be too
short to support their graceful flight. Black-billed Magpies are social, inquisitive
birds that eat fruits, grains, insects, small animals, and frequently gather in large flocks at
carrion. Magpies move in groups and give a variety of trill, cackle, and whistle calls. They flap
steadily in flight, alternating deep and shallow wing beats, and use their very long tails to
negotiate abrupt turns. Being on the eastern edge of their range, this bird is
not normally seen in Iowa except for a small population that has established itself in the
Broken Kettle Grasslands in Plymouth County.