These magpies simply have to go. Not only do they help themselves to any food we put out for the hedgehog (which seems to have left home in despair; we haven't seen him in weeks) but they have taken to raiding the hen's nest and helping themselves to my breakfast egg every morning.
The situation has become worse now that the young magpies have left the nest. They are still dependent on their parents for most of their food. Mum and dad want to wean them. This leads to day long protests, with loud squawking and shrieking emanating from the trees around the garden.
A pair of mistle thrushes had used one of the trees to nest in. I can never understand these birds. Rather than tuck their nest away in a thicket of thorns they like to place it out in the open, in the fork of a tree, where anybody can easily see it. Yet somehow the magpies missed it, although they had their own home close by.
The young thrush family came off the nest last week and in doing so drew immediate attention to themselves. In the days that have passed the magpies have been hunting them down, chasing after them like a pack of feathered hounds until the poor things can go no further, then tearing them assunder.
The Larson trap must be re-commissioned. When we tried it before the magpies just laughed at our clumsy efforts to catch them. I have an idea how to work it properly.
Not content with having magpies eating us out of house and home, the family have adopted a juvenile wood pigeon, which has taken up residence in the kitchen. It has a cold, or something like that. Bird flu, no doubt. We shall all be infected, of course, and be sick at the weekend, just when the better weather gets here. I checked it for plumpness. It needs to be fed for a while before it can 'fly away'.
Those pigeons are also indebted to me, after eating my peas and nibbling the bean shoots the moment they showed themselves above the soil. Each year the same thing happens. We don't really mind; a person can only eat so many beans.
When 'Coo' arrived he looked thoroughly miserable. We think he must have left the nest a day or two too early. Then the wind and rain had come and caught him out in the open. With the magpies on the prowl he was lucky the kids found him first.
Now he lives in a cardboard box. He is really rather attractive, with his smooth grey back and lightly pink breast. He appears mildly intelligent, taking everything in with a gentle gaze. In a day or so he will be free to go and I shall have my house back. More, I shall enjoy the undivided attention of my family. Better still, all those tasty titbits that are going into the pigeon will start to come my way once more.
'Don't feed it cake.' There is no point in saying anything. For such a small creature it has a truly prodigious appetite.
At least I can creep out to go fishing. When I went to the river the water was too high. Despite the cool weather the rocks are already covered in a thick sheet of algal slime. A false step plunged me knee deep into water as cold as winter. Back at home I sought sympathy but found none from a family in raptures over Coo, with magpies chattering excitedly about fresh eggs in the background.
Next week summer will be here.