oil on belgian linen
12h x 46w in
30.48h x 116.84w cm
The black-billed magpie has a long and sordid history with Native Americans and bison. In this symbiotic relationship, the magpies are often found near bison herds feasting the the ticks and ectoparasites found on the shaggy beasts. Interesting that the magpie often caches its hoard for consumption at a later date.
While the magpie is in the crow family, it is arguably one of North America’s most intelligent birds, and also one of its most beautiful. With a long, iridescent colored tail and wing patches, white chest and wingtips, and coal black face it can be found roaming alongside bison herds across the west. While its diet consists mostly of ground dwelling anthropoids, seed and carrion, it does fancy the blood rich taste of bison and elk’s parasite nemesis.
I wanted to portray the movement through the cold air and deep powder of these two symbiotic partners.