We have thieves on the loose here on the farm.
Specifically, our eggs are being stolen -- by magpies.
For the last few weeks, we've hardly gotten any eggs from the chickens. We've also been seeing an unusually high number of magpies hanging around the house and barn. It took me awhile to connect the two.
Here, two magpies are caught red-handed (footed?), going in and out of the chicken coop, which has a long pallet in front of it to keep the cows out. I took these photos from inside the house, so they're not the clearest.
In the morning when I milk Matilda, I often hear the harsh calls of the magpies as they fly around the open-sided barn, searching for eggs. Too often, this is what we find afterward:
This particular eggshell was still warm when I picked it up, empty. Grrr.
Despite all the evidence, we still had our doubts that magpies could be at fault for stealing ALL our eggs... until Don, in the course of his work on the barn awning, found an eggshell on top the awning roof.
I like magpies, even though I'm annoyed at their thievery. They're gaudy and cheerfully quarrelsome birds. I just wish they'd leave our eggs alone.