Last Lent I did a series called “Sitting,” just observing what was happening in my backyard. I sat earlier this month in Estes Park, Colorado. Here’s what I saw:

I’m a sucker for birds, especially anything in the corvid family (crows, magpies, jays). I first discovered these birds when I was in Estes in August and wondered, “What are those black-and-white crows with the blue tails?” Well, they’re black-billed magpies.

Hint: If you need help identifying a bird, go to, which is run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Someday, when I finish my crow story, I’m going to add in some of these guys.