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It was late summer when Dan and I made the trek out to Morgan Hill’s Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve with the goal of finding yellow-billed magpies. Driving along long expanses of agricultural fields, we stopped in the middle of a dirt road when we noticed unusually long tails on the birds lining the telephone wires. Sure enough, we had found ourselves a group of 20 yellow-billed magpies. Gregarious and beautifully adorned with colorful feathers, they were a pleasure to watch.

Yellow-billed magpies are the inspiration for Bay Area Naturalist’s logo as bright, personable birds that are only found along California’s coasts and Central Valley. While their restricted range makes them very special to see, it also makes this species susceptible to the threats that climate change poses to our planet’s life. They inhabit open oak woodlands near bodies of water – a specialized habitat that could mean that this species will not be able to adapt well to the consequences of a changing climate.

We hope that its conservation considerations generate concern for this species, and the countless others that are threatened by climate change. In the shorter-term, we also hope that Bay Area Natives are inspired to go out and find this jewel-colored bird – and along the way, witness the multitude of other amazing species that our area has to offer along the way.

Cheers to your next adventure.

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