Criminal Birds: Brazen Magpie Looting German Village
A magpie living in a village near Berlin has advanced from street crime to brazen burglary, flying into people's houses, eating food from their tables and making itself comfortable on their sofas.
Archive photo of a magpie about to break into a vehicle.
"Elsa" first appeared in the village in mid-October and quickly made friends with the residents, swooping onto their shoulders and begging for food.
"People would feed her nuts and everything was quite calm until two weeks ago," local resident Lydia Krüger, 73, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "She decided she wasn't getting enough and just started taking what she wanted."
"Now she flies straight into my living room through the window, eats my marzipan potatoes and chocolates on the table and sits on the sofa," said Krüger. "I put a pot of meat stew out on the terrace under a cover and she managed to get at that too."
"Elsa" visits many houses in the village and has been given various names, or aliases, including "Oskar", "Erna" and "Jackie". She made friends with the local postwoman only to steal her ball point pen.
"She likes shiny things, I had workmen in the house and she stole their screws," said Krüger.
The residents are now worried about what she might steal in the spring and summer when they have their windows and balcony doors open more. "She's part of the neighborhood but she's starting to get on people's nerves, she's become so cheeky lately," said Krüger.
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH