Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

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Chapter 18 Summary

It is a beautiful spring on the island, and flowers of all kinds are blooming everywhere. Many kinds of birds also visit the island, including black-and-white birds which peck holes in the poles of the girl’s roof and in the whale-bone fence. Karana even sees birds she has never seen before on the island. A pair of birds made a nest in one of the crippled trees near her house, a nest shaped like a pouch. The birds have yellow bodies and scarlet heads, and soon there are two eggs in the nest. Once they hatch, Karana leaves small pieces of abalone under the tree, and the parents feed the bits to their babies. The young birds are gray and ugly, but she takes them from their nest and puts them in a cage made out reeds which she made for them. Later, when the parents leave, these two birds will stay and be her friends.

Soon they begin to develop beautiful feathers like their parents, and before summer comes they are too big for their cage. Instead of building a larger one, the girl clips one wing on each bird so they cannot fly and allows them to fly loose in the house. By the time their wings grow out, they have learned to eat from her hand and perch on her arm. She cuts their wings again and lets them loose in the yard, and now they perch on Rontu, as well. When their feathers grow out again, she does not clip them but they never fly farther than the ravine and always come back at night to ask for food—no matter how much they have already eaten.

The larger one she calls Tainor after a young man she liked but was killed by the Aleuts. The smaller one she names Lurai, the name Karana wishes she had been called. In the time she is taming the birds, she also makes another skirt made of yucca fibers, open on both sides and hanging...

(The entire section is 515 words.)