I was working on my computer on Monday morning. Tucker was doing what he does best on the daybed in my office.
I sensed something was going on outside and looked up to see at least a hundred pretty birds with yellow beaks on the hill outside my door. I grabbed my camera and made my way to the window for a photograph. I was in stealth mode to avoid waking Tucker up and scaring the birds away. Tucker goes
a bit nuts insane when he sees a bird. I knew if he saw this flock, he would hurl himself off the bed like a flying squirrel and hit the glass head on, sending the birds flying.
Tucker usually wakes up if he hears the sound of my knees creaking, but I made it all the way across room without him stirring. I composed my photo, getting the most birds I could fit in the shot. I was shooting through the glass door so I leaned in a bit to avoid any reflection. I barely tapped the lens on the glass. Oops. The birds lifted off in unison skyward and Tucker flung himself off the daybed, his barking piercing my eardrums. Needless to say, I lost the shot. I waited for the birds to return but they only came back a few at a time. Tucker was on high alert at the door barking madly when they landed, scaring them away. I finally diverted his attention long enough to get shots of a couple of birds. Never did they return in the amazing mass of the first visit.
A little research helped me identify them as yellow billed magpies which live only in northern California and nowhere else in the world. Although they are stable in number, the population is threatened because of its susceptibility to West Nile virus.
My clumsiness may have cost me the money shot, but I was lucky to have seen such a beautiful sight. The bright yellow bills and blue on the wings was really striking.