School Bus Mystery

Mr. Samuels smiled as he carefully steered the big school bus along the busy streets. It was the first day following a holiday vacation, and he was glad that the bus was running smoothly. When he had entered it this morning, he’d discovered that one of the rear windows had been left open. There were twigs and dried grass on the floor, but he found no signs of any damage.

A little later Eric and Steve, third-graders at Lakeview School, were sitting together near the rear of the bus. Suddenly they saw a pigeon flying alongside it.

“That pigeon wants to ride with us,” said Steve.

“He’ll have to get a bus pass,” Eric joked.

When the bus stopped for traffic lights, the pigeon perched on a tree branch in easy view of the boys’ closed window. When the traffic moved forward again, the bird kept pace with the bus.

“It not only wants to ride this bus, it also wants to sit in our seat,” Eric said, laughing.

The pigeon began squawking as it flew. People on the street turned and stared. Motorists in passing cars pointed at the funny sight. Some of them honked their car horns. The children on the bus howled with laughter.

“Maybe it sees its reflection in the window and thinks it’s another bird,” said Steve.

Eric waved his hands at the pigeon. “Shoo, bird! Fly away! You’re causing a traffic jam.”

The determined pigeon kept flying alongside them.

When the bus finally arrived at Lakeview School, Eric reached under the seat to get his books. “Mr. Samuels!” he shouted. “I’ve solved the mystery! There’s another pigeon under the seat, and it looks as if it’s been building a nest, because there’s a lot of grass and twigs down here.”

“So that’s it,” the bus driver replied. “I see now—they must have come in through the window I found open this morning. I guess the birds wanted to make their home in our bus. But they can’t live here, that’s for sure.”

Eric and Steve ran to get Mrs. Kappas, the principal, and Mr. Carter, the school custodian. Soon Mr. Carter brought a ladder, and Eric slipped a piece of cardboard under the partially built nest and handed it to Mr. Carter. Then the custodian climbed the ladder and carefully placed the nest on a sheltered ledge under the eaves of the school-house.

“I hope the pigeons will like it there,” Steve told Eric.

At recess time the children saw that the pigeons did like their new home. Busily they swooped back and forth, carrying bits of this and that to finish building their nest.

Eric noticed that one pigeon seemed to be resting a great deal between swoops. Turning to Steve, Eric said with a grin, “Well, I guess if I’d flown as much as that pigeon has this morning, I’d be tired too!”

[illustration] Illustrated by Sharron Vintson