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Friday, June 19, 2020

Sneaky Magpies Pull Vulture's Tail Feathers

Not all of the cool stuff at a deer carcass involves large mammals. While the animals ate the deer that was recently killed by a mountain lion, some bird behavior was super cool.

A Turkey Vulture showed up at the kill along with the magpies, ravens, and crows. A Turkey Vulture is many times bigger than a magpie so the magpies resorted to sneaky tricks to get the bigger bird to leave. They pestered him by pulling on his tail feathers. We saw this once before when magpies pulled on the tail feathers of a Golden Eagle at an elk carcass this winter.

A courageous magpie sneaked behind the Turkey Vulture and pulled on a tail feather. Look closely - you can actually see it happening here.

After that, the vulture was paranoid about the magpies. He repeatedly tried to scare them away by flapping his wings.
This pestering seemed to work. The vulture didn't eat as much of the carcass because he was watching the magpies, and it seemed like he finally departed to get away from the magpie pests!

The more that I watch magpies, the more I like them. They are feisty creatures.

At the same scene, two ravens seemed to do a "bow and click" dance. It looked synchronized which made me think at first that they were friends. But, it turned a little antagonistic. One of them flew away while one remained to eat.
I think that it's super cool that birds can work out their differences in such ritualized non-physical ways.

Check out the video if you have time.


  1. that is like real life... love this berds!!!

  2. Hari OM
    Loved this dance at the end - what characters! YAM xx

  3. What little scooches those magpies are! Love the dance of the ravens.

  4. Interesting! I'm not a fan of magpies, they're pest and noisy too but seeing them pester the vulture was fun to see. I'm sure it didn't think so.

    I've never seen nor heard the clicking by a raven. When I lived in Northern Saskatchewan we had ravens every winter. They were so big they frightened me a little!

  5. At first I was thinking how I'd of is that too small bird can test her a very large bird into leaving. But then I remembered that I got in the pool yesterday and the teeny tiny gnats and mosquitoes that were swarming my face made me get out of our pool and go in the house in the air conditioner. They were tiny but big pest. I love these pictures and I enlarge each one and looked at the detail is which is amazing and each photo. Every morning we watch blackbirds and Ravens as we walk big boy! We have started saying black is beautiful and black lives matter and we're talkin about the black Ravens The Black Crowes and our big black dog. The thing is I can hear the home of the Flies in the background of the video that is some kind of camera that picks up even the noise of the buzzing flies

  6. this is a great video. I love magpies but they can be pretty pesky and a lot mean. I have never seen ravens do that before. thanks KB you always entertain

  7. Dang, those are some big birds, we'd keep far away from those!

  8. Oh my stars that is hilarious and a wee bit daring. I've heard of shaking tail feathers but not pulling them.
    Great video
    Happy Friday
    Hugs cecilia

  9. We live in town and the magpies, ravens, and crows visit to eat bread, seed,and other items thrown out for them. (My 2 puppies are fearful yet intrigued by these big noisy creatures who aren't afraid of dogs!) We had to keep the baby pool in the front yard covered because of all the big birds that wanted to come drink and cool off! Thank you for capturing Mother Nature's finest (again!).

  10. Amazing bird behaviour - it was quite funny to watch :)

  11. Birds are so funny! The magpies make me think of our guinea hens, who are constantly pulling at the chickens' feathers (and each other's)!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  12. Yet more evidence that covids are super smart!

  13. I'm always fascinated by the bird activity in your videos. Those magpies are trouble makers but fun to watch. That sure is an interesting sound the ravens made too.

  14. We have turkey vultures where we live too. They freak us out.

  15. I always love how daring the magpies in your viseos are!

  16. Boy, those magpies are ballsy little things! Are you sure they don't have 'terrier' in them??! BOL!!!
    Ruby ♥

  17. Those magpies must have been very hungry to tag team like that!


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