As I mentioned in my 05-02-2016 post (Magpie Nest), a black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia) pair built a large dome-shaped nest in a cottonwood tree near our house this year (Lookout CA – Modoc County). A few days ago two young magpies fledged.
The youngsters left the nest and awkwardly fluttered to our cattle chute where they sat for a long time, obviously exhausted by their first flight. Eventually one magpie began to stretch upward on its legs, looking as though it were on a pair of stilts. This precocious bird also stretched and strengthened its wings. Finally it flew away landing about 100 feet away, calling and encouraging the other fledgling from a distance.
Meanwhile the second youngster definitely appeared less strong. It continued to sit without moving. At long last the slower bird also began to “stilt” on it legs and flex its wings. ultimately flying to join its sibling.
Both fledglings took short flights away from their perch on the cattle chute and in the end flew off.
I could not see the parents while watching the young magpies leave their nest and begin to fly. Even though the slower fledgling kept calling, there was no answer or response from an adult. The parents may have been nearby, but were not immediately present.
Leonard and I were happy to have a magpie nest in our yard – and have a successful brood.