BLACK-BILLED MAGPIES are ultra common in Colorado. They are as everywhere there as Sea Gulls or crows, to whom they are related, are on the east coast. Though they are protected in the United States, they are regarded by most Westerners as a nuisance bird.I couldn't get enough of them! Their sharply contrasting feathers are visually appealing and they are quite gregarious. They are also very interesting. A University Of Colorado scientist, Dr. Marc Bekoff maintains that Magpies hold funerals for their dead. He saw four magpies by a dead magpie and recounted: "One approached the corpse, gently pecked at it, just as an elephant would nose the carcass of another elephant, and stepped back. Another magpie did the same thing. Next, one of the magpies flew off, brought back some grass and laid it by the corpse. Another magpie did the same. Then all four stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off." In the journal, Emotion, Space and Society , he says "We can't know what they were actually thinking or feeling, but reading their action there's no reason not to believe these birds were saying a magpie farewell to their friend." Indeed. Magpies are also the only known non-mammal to recognize itself in a mirror, so why couldn't they have emotions? They are highly intelligent, adaptive birds that eat anything and will turn things over to look for food underneath. Their resourceful omnivorousness is why some people think they are a pain. They will eat the eggs of other birds, tear open trash bags and rob dumpsters. I like to think of myself as a kind of magpie, a flashy dumpster diver of the writing kind. It would be fitting if when I'm reincarnated that I come back as a magpie.
The most well known magpies in the east are Heckle And Jeckle of cartoon fame.