اینجا تخم مرغ و مشکل موجود است
- زمان مطالعه 17 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
IN WHICH There Are Eggs And Trouble
Two days later Frightful laid a second egg. Again she did not incubate it. Without her warmth, the embryos could not develop. Nevertheless they needed attention, and she turned them every three or four hours. The turning twisted the ropelike chalzas attached to each end of the yolk and to the shell. This twisting tightened the chalzas and kept the yolks suspended in the middle of the albumen so that they did not stick to the inner shell.
Frightful pulled a feather from her breast and watched it blow off on a wind. Before she lay the first egg, both she and 426 had lost so many feathers on their breasts that these areas were naked and bare. These were brood patches. Both parents would brood the eggs. Warmer than feathers, the bare skin would raise the eggs to seventy degrees Fahrenheit. At that mystical temperature, life would start.
The day Frightful laid the second egg was cold. Nevertheless, she and 426 left the eggs and flew off to the courthouse cupola. 426 saw the pigeon ladies come out of their house and the pigeons flock to meet them. He dove. The pigeons scattered. Frightful watched from above the trees. She saw a bird fly away from the others in confusion, dove at it, and missed.
Later that day they were successful in their cooperative hunting. Frightful caught a rat.
That night was very cold. Frightful stood over the eggs, not sitting on them to start incubation, but protecting them from the freezing air. She let her long breast feathers and pantaloons make a tent around them as she stood. Her brood patch was swollen and soft with a jellylike fluid.
Three days after the second egg was laid, Frightful laid a third. When she stood up to look at the rich colors and exciting shapes of her clutch, her knees bent. She sat down. Her brood patch fit gently around the eggs like a soft hot-water bottle. Long feathers that had developed around her brood patch dropped around the eggs like a down comforter. They kept the warmth in and the cold out.
Around noon the peregrine eggs reached seventy degrees. Miraculously, inside each egg one cell became two, two became four, then eight. Life was exploding in its various and complicated ways. Frightful sat tight.
That afternoon 426 became provider and helper. He flew off alone and came back with food. He fed her, then she stood up. He sat down and brooded the eggs. Frightful flew up and down the river, then winged over the one hemlock, calling to Sam. When she was well exercised, she returned to the scrape. 426 got up. Frightful sat down on the precious eggs.
Around six o’clock the next morning 426, who was sleeping near the top of the bridge against a vertical web, awoke. He checked Frightful and flew off to hunt.
Sam saw him go. He walked onto the bridge and whistled. Frightful did not answer.
“I know you’re there,” he said. “I’ve been watching you from Federal Hill.”
Frightful was quiet. The longer she incubated, the more deeply she went into the trance of incubation. Only 426 could bring her out of it, and only to eat and fly briefly.
Sam whistled again. Still no answer. He grinned. Frightful, he knew, was now incubating.
“Good girl,” he said aloud; then to himself, “At last I know for sure that she is not so deeply imprinted on me that she could not mate and raise eyases. I am so, so glad. I did not destroy her wildness after all.” Whistling, Sam swung off the bridge and dropped to the water’s edge, where he walked gracefully upriver, jumping stones and skirting marshes. He arrived at the path to Mrs. Strawberry’s farm. Today was the day to plant her rye. The maple leaves were flowering.
On May 8 a diesel truck, pulling a flatbed of lumber and roadblocks, crossed the Delhi Bridge and parked on the town side of the river. Workmen placed detour signs and orange cones on either end of the bridge, tied orange ribbons to webs, and conferred with their boss, Joe Cassini.
The cafe owner, Betty Christopher, drove up in her car and poked her head out the window.
“What’s all this about?” she asked Joe Cassini.
“Bridge repair,” he answered.
“About time,” she said. “The last couple of floods just about tore out the pilings. Gonna fix them, too?”
“Yeah,” Cassini answered. “The pilings are first.”
“I’ve been expecting them to go any day,” said Betty Christopher, “and dump everyone on the bridge into the river. I’m glad you’re here.” “They’re not that bad,” laughed Joe Cassini. “But we’re repairing this bridge and every other bridge in New York State. Even ones that hardly need it.” “How am I going to get to work?” she asked. “I live on the mountain side of the bridge, not the town side.”
“We’re setting up a detour. Turn around and cross on the lower bridge.”
“Gotcha,” she said, and drove off.
A week later the workmen finished the crib that would support the bridge while they replaced the pilings. No sooner was it up than a diesel truck with air compressors pulled onto the bridge. Men with ear protectors picked up their jackhammers and tested them. Blasts shook the bridge.
Frightful stood up.
“There’s a peregrine’s nest on this bridge.” It was Sam’s voice below. She sat down.
“So?” said Joe Cassini.
“Well, peregrines are an endangered species,” he said. “They are protected by law.”
“We ain’t going to shoot them,” Joe Cassini said.
“But you’ll scare them away,” Sam replied. “Isn’t there another bridge you could work on till the end of June?”
“There are a lot of other bridges. But the Department of Transportation says we do this one—now.”
“Tell them peregrine falcons are nesting here. I’m sure when they hear that, they’ll want to wait until the nesting season is over. These are very special birds.” “You tell them,” Joe Cassini said. “I don’t know anything about that stuff.” He gave orders to a man who was standing beside the piling and turned his back on Sam.
Sam looked up at the long horizontal girder, then down at his body. He measured his body width against the width of the girder.
“It ought to work,” he said, and ambled toward the mountain side of the bridge. Walking to the bottom of the bow, he glanced back. The repair crew was busy. Grabbing the bow in both hands, he ran up it like a spider. At the fifth vertical from the mountain shore, he eased onto the wide horizontal girder and lay down. He was out of sight on his belly. He inchwormed to Frightful. She was tucked under the bow, her eyes calm and broody. Sam pressed his lips together and chirped.
“Car-reel,” Frightful answered, and stood up. She turned the eggs to keep the developing embryos from sticking to the shells.
Leon Longbridge, the conservation officer, and four kids walked onto the bridge. Sam watched Leon. A little less than a year ago Sam had thought Leon Longbridge was the man who had confiscated Frightful and taken her from him. Sam had been dead wrong. The culprit was a falcon thief named Bate. Leon Longbridge was Delhi’s conservation officer and a truly fine man, as the town kids had discovered. Leon’s favorite bird was the peregrine falcon, and last summer when a boy named Jose Cruz and a girl named Molly came to his office to ask about peregrine falcons, he had expounded with beautiful stories about their courage and swiftness. They wanted to hear more, and it was not long before he found himself taking them on early-morning bird walks.
Only last evening, Molly, who was ten years old with black bangs and a pigtail, had called him.
“I think two peregrine falcons are nesting on the bridge,” she had said. “And the workers are scaring them.”
“Good for you,” he had said. “You’re right. There is a pair on the bridge, and I am sure all the noisy equipment will drive them away. I’m going to ask the foreman if he can’t work somewhere else the first thing in the morning.” “Can Jose and I come with you?” she had asked.
“Sure,” he had said.
“And Maria and Hughie?”
“I don’t see why not,” he had answered. “The more the better.”
Now Sam, flattened out on the girder, was watching them walk toward the foreman.
“Off the bridge,” Joe Cassini shouted. “The bridge is closed. Get off.”
“Peregrine falcons are nesting on this bridge,” Molly piped.
“We’ve come to ask if you could stop work,” Leon Longbridge said. “Could you work somewhere else for a month or so?”
“Get off the bridge,” Joe repeated. Leon Longbridge nodded and led the kids to the riverbank.
“Let’s hold a meeting,” Molly said, and sat down on the grass.
Leon told them the endangered species were protected by the federal government. He said he had notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albany that the birds were in trouble. The Feds seemed to think the birds would be all right.
“Anyone know the governor?” Leon asked. “He can stop the repairs.”
“Not me,” said Jose, and slapped his black, curly head with both hands. “I wish I did.”
“By the way, Molly,” Leon asked, “how did you happen to see the falcons?”
“My bedroom looks out on the bridge,” she said, and pointed to a Victorian masterpiece at the bottom of the mountain, directly in line with the bridge.
“What can we do?” said Maria, a sturdy little girl in white overalls. “The workers are going to scare them away.”
“What about writing letters to the governor?” Molly asked.
“Yeah,” said Jose. “When Jon Wood showed us a peregrine falcon that had been electrocuted on utility poles, we wrote letters to the company.” “And they fixed three poles,” said Molly.
“Move on,” Joe Cassini called. “It’s dangerous here.”
“Let’s go back to my office,” said Leon, getting to his feet. “I have papers and pencils there.”
As they jumped to their feet and hurried off, a crew member put on his ear protectors, picked up his jackham-mer, and pushed the start button. The powerful tool roared. He attacked the piling, the jackhammer shaking and spewing dust. The noise bounced off one hundred iron webs in an earsplitting exchange of sounds.
The kids and Leon Longbridge looked back to see the falcon fly in terror. She did not.
Stretched on his belly, Sam spoke gently to Frightful. The constant vibrations from two jackhammers trembled the huge horizontal web, but Frightful stayed with her eggs. When two more hammers joined the mayhem, she came out of her incubation trance. Her eyes widened in fear.
“Pseee,” Sam called, squeezing air between his teeth to make a bird sound. Frightful stood up.
Softly, softly Sam whistled to her. She cocked her head. The jackhammers stopped. She did not fly.
“It’s all right,” Sam said. “It’s all right.” He reached out his hand to her.
The four jackhammers blasted again, sending sound waves bouncing around the webs and girders that held the bows in place. The waves banged out every possible note known to iron and air.
“Car-reet,” Frightful called softly.
Sam lay perfectly still, his hand inches from her. Relaxed and smiling, he whispered over and over, “It’s all right, Frightful. It’s all right.” She pressed the precious eggs against her warm brood patch. She settled down but was still alert.
For the three hours that the jackhammers blasted, Frightful watched Sam. He transmitted calmness. Despite the din, she slipped into the trance of incubation, this time more deeply than before. She saw and heard nothing beyond her scrape.
At twelve o’clock the work crew put down their tools and ambled to the river’s edge to eat their brown-bag lunches. The bridge was quiet.
Sam stood up, touched his toes, and stretched. He backed up against the next vertical iron web to keep out of sight of the workers and glanced at the river far below.
“I feel like a bird way up here,” he said to Frightful. “What a super thing it must be to fly.”
Frightful did not stir.
426 dropped out of the mist of a low cumulus cloud, where he had been nervously circling. He landed on the top of the bow with food for Frightful. He saw Sam and flexed his legs to take off, but did not. 426 had been hacked to the wild by a motherly human. If frightful was at ease with Sam, so was he. Sam did not move a finger.
426 shifted the bird in his talons to his beak, and dropped down to Frightful. He called the peregrine note to awaken a mate from the incubation trance. Frightful brightened and looked at him. Glancing at Sam, who was tree still, he tore off a bite and presented it to Frightful.
A jackhammer blasted. 426 swallowed the offering and took off in panic. Frightful was ready to follow him. But the eggs had power over her. Feeling them beneath her, she settled back to mother them.
“Frightful,” Sam said. “This is going to be a problem. 426 is not going to feed you with those blasters around.” He took his penknife from his pocket and cut off tender bites. Frightful took the food from him until she was satiated.
“I wish you could exercise,” he said. “I can feed you, but I sure can’t sit on the eggs.”
At five o’clock the noise ended. The work crew drove away, and Sam got to his feet.
“You’re a brave bird,” he said. “Hang in there. I’m going to catch and cook me a fish.
“Then I’m going to make a camouflage. Somebody is going to look up here, and if they are standing at the right angle, they’ll see me. With a burlap bag and some reeds woven into it, they’ll think I’m windblown debris.
“When I go down, I’ll leave it up here. Hopefully all the falcon watchers will think it’s the nest.
“And something else. I’ll get Alice to buy some orange material. She and Mrs. Strawberry can make a vest I’ll wear, like the workers. There’s a hard hat in Mrs. Strawberry’s barn. If anyone sees me climbing up the bow to the nest, they’ll think I’m a crew member.” He looked down on the broody Frightful. “You and I have got to get these little birds in the sky. The rivers and valleys need them.” He whistled softly.
“Sleep well. I’ll be back in the morning.”
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