UPDATE: What would I do without my readers? Robert @ Field of View kindly corrected my mistake. Now it makes sense why the legs are so thick!
|buh-bye!|Sharpie and Cooper side-by-side comparisons from Cornell More tips from Cornell Hawk Guide Sharp-shinned and cooper's together (great pics!)
- (I'm silly)
Then my IT guy at work who knows I'm into birds mentioned a bird he saw that looked like a magpie too, in the same area that I had seen it, so this was getting pretty interesting. The plot thickens...
Then, a few weeks ago I was waiting for someone to pick me up in that area, and I was standing on the corner (haha ok stop laughing), and what do you know, I look up and that bird is sitting about 10 feet away from me, and I can clearly see that it's a crow! It just happens to be partially leucistic symmetrically on both wings in the same spots that magpies have white. Mystery solved! As it turns out (and as I learned recently, here), it's quite common for birds in the blackbird family to have leucism or partial leucism, i.e. feathers with no pigment. It's funny, I also saw a grackle last weekend with one white tail feather.
Now, as you can guess, up to this point, I hadn't had a camera with me to shoot this unique bird (go figure), and so the search began for this clever crow that disguised itself as a magpie.
|WANTED: American crow masquerading as a magpie!|
My first attempt was after work earlier this week. I got off the bus on the way home and checked the spots I had seen it before--nada. Then I stopped by again today after another coworker mentioned that she had seen it recently too at another nearby location, so I started there today. I got off the bus, heard crows, and followed. Never before have I been so tuned into the sounds of crows! I watched the Nature of Things episode on crows (fascinating! check it out...there's lots of interesting stuff on how they communicate, and it's David Suzuki and how can you not love him?) and I really tuned in, not just to where the sound was coming from, but listening for others that might be responding. Within only a minute or two I found my target! It was flying right in front of me but...drats...my camera was still in the bag. Quickly and clumsily I put the book I was carrying away and got the camera out--the bird flew off nearby and I followed. It perched up on a lamp post and I got some good looks while it sat there, but you can't really see the full effect of the white wings.
|crow, not magpie!|
Here's a magpie in flight for comparison. Obviously it has the epaulettes in white (and also white on its stomach), but strikingly similar right?
|Magpie, not crow. (also not my shot)|
In other news, I'm happy to say that I'll be making my first pilgrimage to Pelee this weekend, which is kind of a big deal for me. Stay tuned...I have a feeling there will be some meaty posts coming up!