Before I went to the Monterey Bay Birding Festival and on the field trip to the Pinnacles, I had no idea there was a bird such as the Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli). I think it's nice looking with all those contrasting and bright colors.
It has quite a small range compared to most birds. It is endemic to California and located pretty much just in the central to northern part of the state in Oak Savannah which occurs in our foothills and some valleys. If you're having a hard time picturing an Oak Savannah, think Little House on the Prairie with the grassy hills and beautiful Oaks scattered about. That was Oak Savannah, obviously not Prairie, but that's ok.
It's a member of the crow/jay family (Corvidae) and it acts like it too. It hangs around people picnicking waiting to get their scraps... at least in the park areas. I was able to get within 10-15 feet of it. Still glad I had on my 100-400mm lens though!
It is unfortunately on the Audubon's Watch List due to poisons and now it looks like West Nile Virus too.
It seems a quite proud bird to me. Bolder than the Stellar's Jays too. Beautiful in flight. Sorry for this quality, but it was the only one I got. It was quite striking.
I also think that it must be the yellow bill that makes it look like a Kansas Jayhawk, lol!