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Nature Photography - Done Naturally

Black-billed Magpie

Pica hudsonia

One benefit to traveling for work is that I sometimes take a day or two of my own time to explore a region and take photos. In January of 2017, I had meetings in Bozeman, Montana, and decided to take a quick 2-day trip down to Yellowstone. One morning I was in the Lamar Valley in the northern part of the park, when I came across three massive bull Bison, dozing close to the side of the road.  The temperature at the time was close to 20-below, and it was somewhat surreal seeing the steamy breath around the 3 sleeping giants. As I was taking photos, a Black-billed Magpie flew into the scene, and much to my delight, landed on the head of one of the Bison! For a while, the Bison didn't seem to mind as the Magpie hung out in the coarse fur.  The Magpie started searching through the fur with its bill...curious, since I can't imagine there were any insects or other food items present on a 20-below morning.  The Bison grew increasingly frustrated by the bird's movements, and finally with a great shake of its head, the bird was gone. During the action I was able to grab several photos, and I must say in all the thousands of photos in my collection, this is the ONLY bird photo that has such a unique perch.

Black-billed Magpie and Bison - Pica hudsonia

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