The Falcon's Feathers

BOOK: The Falcon's Feathers
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is for Frightened …

Suddenly, Josh stopped. “Listen!” he said.

Josh knelt next to a patch of tangled weeds. Slowly, he parted the stalks with his fingers.

A brown bird was hunched in the weeds. It had a sharp beak and shiny black eyes.

“It's a peregrine falcon!” Josh said.

“The poor thing looks scared,” Ruth Rose said.

Josh took off his T-shirt and carefully draped it over the bird. “He won't be so scared if he can't see us,” Josh explained. He held the bundle against his chest.

“Hey what's this?” Josh said. He gently stretched out one of the falcon's legs.

Wrapped around the leg was a narrow metal band …

The Absent Author

The Bald Bandit

The Canary Caper

The Deadly Dungeon

The Empty Envelope

The Falcon's Feathers

Text copyright © 1998 by Ron Roy.
Illustrations copyright © 1998 by John Steven Gurney.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

www.randomhouse.com/kids

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Roy, Ron. 1940–  The falcon's feathers / by Ron Roy ;
illustrated by John Steven Gurney.
p.   cm. — (A to Z mysteries)      “A Stepping Stone book.”
SUMMARY: Josh and his two friends look for the person who stole a peregrine falcon from its nest.
eISBN: 978-0-307-52335-8
[1. Peregrine falcon—Fiction.  2. Falcons—Fiction.  3. Mystery and detective stories.]
I. Gurney, John, ill.  II. Title.  III. Series: Roy, Ron, 1940– A to Z mysteries.
PZ7.R8139Fal  1998  98-10784  [Fic]—dc21

A STEPPING STONE BOOK is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

A TO Z MYSTERIES is a trademark of Random House, Inc.

v3.1

This book is dedicated to all kids who like animals and respect nature
–R.R
.

To Ian Campbell
–J.S.G
.

Contents

Dink stepped on a branch. It broke with a loud snap.

“Geez, Dink, you sound like an elephant!” Josh said. “We have to be quiet!”

“Josh Pinto, where are you taking us?” Ruth Rose demanded. “I'm all scratches! Why didn't you tell us we'd be walking through pricker bushes?”

The kids were deep in the woods, not far from the horse trails. The bushes were thick under the tall trees.

Josh grinned at his friends. “It's a surprise,” he said. “Trust me, you'll love it.”

“Well, I don't love all these mosquitoes,” Dink muttered.

Ruth Rose sat on a log and scratched a bite on her ankle. “I'm not going any farther until you spill the beans,” she said.

“Me neither,” Dink said. He plopped down next to Ruth Rose. “Out with it, Josh. Why'd you drag us into this jungle?”

“And what's with the binoculars?” Ruth Rose asked.

“Okay, I'll tell you.” Josh squeezed between them on the log and pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. He spread it out across his knees.

It was a drawing of a bird. It had dark feathers, a curved beak, and black markings under the eyes.

“What is it?” asked Dink. “An eagle?”

Josh shook his head. “No, it's a peregrine falcon. They were almost extinct—but now there's a family in Green Lawn!”

Dink was impressed. “Did
you
draw this?”

Josh nodded. “Yup. I found a nest with three babies. I've been watching them for a couple of weeks now.”

“And you're just telling us today?” Ruth Rose said. “Thanks for sharing, Josh.”

Josh folded the drawing and stuck it in his pocket. “Falcons don't like to be disturbed,” he said. “I was waiting to tell you when the babies were older.”

Dink looked over their heads at the trees. “So where's the nest?” he asked.

Josh stood up. “We're almost there,” he said.

The kids picked their way through the undergrowth. Between the branches, Dink could see glimpses of the Indian River.

A minute later, Josh stopped. “It's right over there,” he whispered. “The tall tree in the clearing.”

“All I see are leaves,” Ruth Rose said.

Josh pointed about halfway up the tree. “See that brown stuff right over the dead branch?”

“I see it!” Ruth Rose cried.

“Me too,” Dink said. “How did you climb up there?”

“I didn't,” said Josh. “If you disturb the nest, the parents might abandon the babies.”

Josh pointed to a white birch tree at the edge of the clearing. “I climb that tree and look over with my binoculars.”

“Can we climb up and take a look?” Ruth Rose asked.

“Sure,” Josh said. “Only we have to be quiet. I don't want to scare them.”

The birch tree was perfect for climbing. The smooth limbs made a natural ladder. Dink and Ruth Rose followed Josh up to a thick branch.

Josh trained his binoculars on the other tree. He adjusted the focus by turning a little wheel between the two eyepieces.

“That's weird,” he muttered.

“What's weird?” Ruth Rose asked.

BOOK: The Falcon's Feathers
5.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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