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BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (2005)
Acrylic on Illustration board 30" x 22"
|Western North America's best known roadside scavenger is surely the Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia). Long considered a race of the Old World Magpie (P. pica), the American bird is now generally considered a distinct species, based on DNA evidence. Thriving in a variety of situations and happy to feed on a wide range of foods, these handsome and charming corvids are common through most of their range. Despite their common habit of feeding on roadkilled animals, it is surprisingly rare to find one of these intelligent birds joining those ranks. Incidental creatures in this painting include a garden spider (Argiope sp.), Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis), Green Stink Bug (Acrosternum hilare), Blue Mud Dauber Wasp (Chalybion californicum), Convergent Ladybird larva (Hippodamia convergens), looper larva (Autographa sp.), Bushtits (Psaltriparius minimus) Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus), and Least Chipmunk (Tamias minimus).|