It's a common misconception that all birds are dumb. Let me introduce you one of our hens, who's no birdbrain.
(Look at those eyes...there's genius in that brain.)
Now, since we have our chicken coop right next to our veggie garden, we've gone to great lengths to keep them OUT. That includes 8' tall wire fencing around the perimeter of the garden, plus more fencing around each raised garden bed. We even put small-wire chicken fencing around the lower portion of the outer fence to keep the baby chicks from slipping through. We checked for gaps or holes and filled them. We did perimeter checks. We patted ourselves on the backs for being such smarty pants at outwitting the chickens with our fancy engineering degrees...
...and then I saw THIS as I was picking tomatoes.
A nest with 7 eggs! Which means a hen had for 7 days in a row, gotten through our outer fence, and then found a way past a second barricade to covertly make a nest and lay an egg. Without being seen!
That's one clever hen.
As I stood there stunned at my discovery, I began to wonder if the culprit was in the garden at that very moment. I left the produce I'd picked on the ground and darted behind some other garden beds and waited...and then I saw her!
First, she snuck around the far side of the tomato bed to throw anyone off her tail...I mean trail...
As she approached the spot where her nest was, she noticed the fresh produce on the ground and decided to scrub her egg-laying mission.
She furtively glanced behind her in the direction of the house to make sure she wasn't being watched...
and then proceeded to eat the biggest, juiciest, best tasting tomato I had picked that day. My perfectly ripe Black Krim tomato...my favorite!
That's when I broke cover and ran out to confront the interloper.
(She selected the yummiest tomato I'd picked that day... a shrewd tomato aficionado.)
It took some negotiating, but I eventually enticed her out of the garden with 'chicken crack'....cracked corn, that is.
After I closed the gate behind our little poultry Mata Hari, I left the garden that morning with a bountiful harvest of several veggies, 7 eggs...
...and a large dose of humility.