《唐人溪 • 喜鵲》

Magpie Image_9 MAR 2018

Photograph by Animal Spot (www.animalspot.net)

 Simon Patton 著

睇睇其外貌,澳洲喜鵲同香港同名嘅雀仔顏色差唔多一樣,身體嘅羽毛都係一半黑色一半白色,黑白圖案構成一種十分明顯嘅對比,同時又好似暗示佢嘅性格太複雜啦!實際上,真實情況真係如此。
Just from the way they look, Australian magpies look pretty much the same as the birds that go by the same name in Hong Kong, one half of their feathers black and one half white. This black and white pattern makes a stark contrast and, at the same time, it hints at its rather contradictory nature! Actually, magpies really are a contradiction.

白色好似可以代表喜鵲美麗嘅方面。我舊年買到一本名為《香港嘅傳統節日》嘅書本,其中有不少令我覺得零舍感觸嘅描寫,而最令我難忘嘅段落就係涉及到七姐節所紀念嘅織女及牛郎嘅描述:“一直到現在,牛郎留喺銀河呢一畔,織女又留喺另一畔,雖然兩人可以見到對方,但係毫無辦法溝通。只有一年一度逢到七月七日嘅時候先至有機會相見。嗰日,世界上所有嘅喜鵲就會飛向上天,用佢哋翅膀造成一條巨大嘅橋,以便織女走到丈夫身旁”。我睇,真正嘅愛情應該係咁樣嘅,擁有行喺幾百萬喜鵲翅膀上面嘅微妙感覺!
The white would seem to symbolize the magpie’s beautiful side. Last year I bought a book entitled Chinese Festivals in Hong Kong. In it, there are quite a number of passages that really moved me, but to me the most unforgettable one of all describes deals with the Festival of the Seven Sisters which commemorates the Weaving Girl and the Cowherd: “There they remain to this day, the Cowherd on side of the Milky Way and the Weaving Girl on the other, within sight of one another yet quite unable to communicate except once a year, on the Double Seventh. On that day all the magpies in the world fly up to Heaven and make a bridge with their wings for the Weaving Girl to cross over to visit her husband.” This is how true love should be, I think ― with the wonderful feeling of walking across the wings of millions of magpies!

香港嘅喜鵲叫聲嘈雜,唔係特別悅耳動聽㗎。澳洲喜鵲反而天生賦有一把非常好聽嘅聲音。平時,好聽嘅雀仔叫聲好似唱歌咁,歌唱般嘅旋律格外吸引人。澳洲喜鵲嘅好聽就截然不同,唔係唱歌而係一種令人陶醉嘅𠺘口聲!喺一般情況下,旋律係一音一音咁唱出嚟嘅,係由一系列單音組成嘅,不過本地喜鵲一開口就突然間創造出類此旋渦般嘅音樂溪流,好難分別出個別嘅節拍。用𠺘口呢個單詞形容佢特有嘅鳴聲或者容易使人產生誤會:講得更加正確嘅係,嗰種聲音類似係天堂下凡嘅天使𠺘口聲!我平時朝早五點鐘起身,嗰時全世界仲係黑蚊蚊嘅,乜嘢都見唔到,但係喺漆黑中通常可以聽到喜鵲喺最為陰暗嘅深處為黎明準備,唱出獨一無二嘅叫醒歌曲。
Hong Kong magpies make a rather raucous sound that is not very pleasant to listen to. But rather surprisingly Australian magpies are endowed by nature with an extraordinarily beautiful voice. Generally speaking, those birds with pleasant singing voices have a melody that is particularly attractive. However, the magpies in Australia are completely different: they don’t sing, they make a kind of intoxicating gargling sound! Ordinary melodies are song note by note, a sequence of single sounds organized into a unit; but as soon as the magpies of this place open their beaks they suddenly give rise to a musical stream of sound like a whirlpool, in which it is hard to distinguish individual notes. Perhaps using the term “gargling” to describe the sound this bird makes may give rise to misunderstandings: to be more precise, that sound is the gargling of angels in Heaven! Usually I get up at five in the morning at a time when the world is still pitch-black and you can’t see anything, but in that utter darkness you can often hear the wake-up song that the magpies have prepared for dawn, singing from the darkest depths of the night.

澳洲喜鵲識得發出好多唔同嘅叫聲,雖然最為突出嘅係嗰種仿效𠺘口聲,但係其實佢哋仲有三、四種其他嘅叫聲,好容易令到你以為係屬於幾種唔同嘅鳥類。自從我搬到鄉下間定居以來,我就慢慢開始學識邊隻雀仔會發出變樣鳴聲,經過一段時間之後就比較有把握唔會認錯,不過仍然仲有一啲「無主」嘅叫聲令到我冇法辨認出嚟。不過,終於有一日,我意識到嗰啲所謂無主嘅叫聲全部都屬於喜鵲:佢喺唔同嘅場所、唔同嘅情況下會唱出好唔同嘅歌,真係太不可思議啦!連年幼嘅喜鵲都有其獨特嘅叫聲,你一聽到就即刻知道年幼嘅喜鵲已經出現喺附近樹林裏面啦!
In actual fact, Australian magpies know how to make a number of different calls. Although the one that imitates a sound like gargling is the most conspicuous one, there are also three or four others that would make you think they were made by a few completely different birds. From the time I first moved to the countryside, I slowly began to learn which bird made which sound and, after a while, I could match the call to the bird fairly accurately, but there were still some calls that were “without an owner” and that I had no way of identifying. Nevertheless, I finally came to realize that all those ownerless sounds belonged to the magpies: rather miraculously, in different circumstances, and under different conditions, they sung different songs! Even young magpies had a special cry of their own, and when you heard that you knew at once that a new magpie had appeared in the nearby forests!

佢哋仲有另外一啲特殊行為。首先,喜鵲好似好鐘意喺地面行路揾嘢食,同烏鴉比起,佢哋行路方式零舍順利,一啲遴迍嘅感覺都冇。有時喺屋外觀察喜鵲時,我會覺得呢種雀仔太懶得起飛,短距離嘅路程佢哋差唔多每次都會選擇運用兩隻黑色嘅腳行過去,除非受到威脅時之外,就好少選擇飛翔嘅方式。
They also have a few other special forms of behaviour. First of all, magpies seem to like walking on the ground in search of things to eat. In comparison to crows, their manner of walking is especially assured and they don’t look in the least bit awkward. Sometimes when I am outdoors looking at magpies, I get the feeling that these birds are too lazy to fly ― over short distances they prefer to walk on their two black legs nearly every time, unless something threatens them. They seldom make the choice of flight.

其二,佢哋特別鐘意玩遊戲,尤其係傍晚嘅時候,一小羣喜鵲會好似箭嘴咁飛往高空度,達到高處就掉轉頭,然後就好老練咁乘著空中嘅氣流滑翔返到地面,完全唔使拍翅膀,非常瀟灑。然後,佢哋即刻又向領空鑽,將遊戲重頭再玩一次,真係會令到我聯想到一群黑白色嘅滑翔傘玩家。
Secondly, they really like to play, especially towards the end of the day, when small flocks of magpies fly up into the sky like arrows. When they reach the heights, they turn around and, with practised skill, ride a certain current of air back to the ground without a single flap of their wings. How easy and elegantly poised they look! Then, they immediately fly back up into the air again, and play the game all over again. I can’t help thinking that they look like a group of black and white paragliders.

喜鵲以白色代表嘅光明方面之外,佢又有以黑色代表嘅陰險一面。春天孵卵湊仔女嘅時候,澳洲喜鵲為咗保護自己嘅幼鳥就通常會對附近嘅途人進行襲擊,利用其零舍尖銳嘅喙啄「侵略者」嘅頭部。我屋企周圍層未經歷過喜鵲嘅暴力行為,但係踩單車去「細紅蘋果」時(細紅蘋果即係呢一帶唯一可以買到餸嘅士多),到目前已經遭受喜鵲兩三次嘅「空襲」,每次都好突然,趕唔切採取任何保護自己嘅措施。好彩,喺澳洲踩單車法律規定一定要戴頭盔,因此即使遭受喜鵲嘅騷擾,但係由於戴上頭盔就一直未被啄傷!
Apart from their positive, bright aspect symbolized by white, they also have a sinister side, symbolized by the black. In Spring, when they are laying eggs and bringing up their young, Australian magpies frequently attack people walking in the vicinity in order to safeguard the fledglings, pecking the heads of any “invaders” with their very sharp beaks. I’ve never suffered any violence from the magpies that live in the area near my house, but when I bike ride to the Little Red Apple (the Little Red Apple is the only store in the area, and it is where I can do some shopping), I have been attacked two or three times by “air-raiding” magpies. Each time, the attack is very sudden and gives me no time to make any preparations for self-defence. Fortunately, it is law in Australia that everyone has to wear a helmet when riding a bike, so even though I have been harassed by magpies, the helmet on my head has always protected me from any injury!

其實,澳洲喜鵲好犀利,對於環境嘅任何變化都非常之敏感。唔知點解,呢度各種各樣啲雀仔喺春、夏天呢兩個季節中耐唔時會撞到窗口嘅玻璃,平時佢哋唔會受傷,好似冇事咁即刻向第二個方向飛走。但間唔中又因為飛得太快,所以一撞上就跌落去地下,好似打突兀咁唔知發生乜事,呆咗一陣先至恢復正常再飛開。
Actually, magpies here in Australia are pretty formidable. They are very sensitive to any changes in the surrounding environment. I’m not sure why but in Spring and Summer all kinds of birds here crash into the windows here from time to time. In most cases, they don’t hurt themselves and fly off at once in another direction just as if nothing had happened. Every now and then, however, perhaps because it is flying too fast, a bird will fall to the ground as soon as it hits the glass and sits there in surprise unable to understand what has happened to it, staying there stunned for a long time before recovering and flying off.

記得有一次喺屋內專心投入做嘢時,忽然聽到雀仔好大力咁撞到玻璃窗,嗱嗱聲開門出去睇睇,就發現一隻我未見過嘅綠色細雀瞓低喺地下,佢個樣好慘,好似已經撞死咗。不過,等咗好耐之後,呢隻可憐但辨認唔到嘅雀仔開始恢復知覺。再等咗十五分鐘,隻雀仔差唔多回復正常,不過佢仲未恢復起飛嘅能力。我嗰時就決定入返屋企,俾佢慢慢拍拍翅膀,試吓係咪重獲得飛翔能力。不過令到我驚訝嘅係,喺啱啱閂好道門時嗰一刻,外面響起另一次鳥類振翅嘅聲音,由窗口望出去,我就發現有隻喜鵲由嗰隻發愣雀仔坐低嘅地方離開。我心裏好驚奇,難道隻喜鵲可以察覺到四圍有隻受傷嘅雀仔?我即刻返去外邊,睇睇嗰隻綠色雀仔係咪安然無恙。一見佢就知道佢已經冇嗮生命力。觀察其身體上嘅傷口時就可以辨別出係被喜鵲啄死,真係令到我全身忍唔住揗揗震。
I remember on one occasion I was working away inside when I suddenly heard the thud of a bird hitting a window with all its force. I went over to the door as quickly as I could and went out to see what was going on: I discovered a small green bird I had never seen before lying on the ground looking to be in a very bad way, perhaps even dead already. After a long wait, however, this unidentified bird began to regain consciousness. I waited another quarter of an hour; by then, the bird seemed more or less normal again, but it was still unable to fly. I decided then to go back inside and let it flap its wings and try to fly when it was ready but, to my complete surprise, as soon as I had shut the door, I heard the whoosh of a bird’s wings and, looking out through the window, I saw a magpie flying away from where that green bird had been sitting. I was astonished. Could the magpie have sensed that there was an injured bird in the vicinity? I immediately went outside again to see if the stunned bird was still there. As soon as I looked over to the place, I could see that there was no life in it at all. When I saw the wound on its body, I knew that it had been pecked to death by the magpie and I couldn’t help feeling a cold shudder pass through me.

無可否認,喜鵲有白有黑,無論點樣我哋無辦法將呢兩種矛盾分開。最近,我老婆揸車時偶爾見到一隻喺鐵絲網中𠸉住嘅喜鵲,佢一見到心理就覺得猶豫不決,佢同我一樣明明知道喜鵲性格上黑色白色兩方面。佢泊咗車之後,由車尾箱入邊攞出塊棉被嚟,然後向嗰段籬笆度行過去。原來隻喜鵲嘅一隻翼喺兩條鐵線之間被死死𠸉住,但當老婆用張被套住隻雀仔頭部以後,就可以小心咁將嗰兩條帶刺嘅鐵線分開。當然,我老婆好擔心隻翅膀受傷程度太過嚴重,影響到喜鵲嘅起飛能力,但係好彩翅膀冇乜明顯問題,將棉被攞開後,隻喜鵲即刻用力拍翼竄入附近嘅桉樹林地。嗰一刻,老婆嘅感情一定好複雜,一方面慶祝一隻細細嘅動物重新獲得自由維生嘅機會,另一方面憂慮喜鵲對於其他動物作出各種殘忍行為。不過,喜鵲畢竟同人類一樣擁有好多矛盾之處,攪到佢收尾只好發出一聲沈重嘅嘆息,慢慢行返去停泊喺泥土路側邊嘅汽車。
There’s no point denying it: magpies are both white and black and we have no way of separating these two contradictory aspects. Just recently, my partner was driving along when she saw a magpie caught in barbed wire. She hesitated, because she was well aware of the black and white in a magpie’s nature. Then she stopped the car, took out a blanket from the boot of the car, and walked over to that part of the fence. As it turned out, one of the magpie’s wings was stuck fast between two strands of wire, but when she covered the magpie’s head with the blanket she was able to separate the two strands of barbed wire. Of course, she was worried that the wings had been seriously damaged and would prevent the magpie from flying, but fortunately there didn’t appear to be anything obviously wrong with the wing, and when she removed the blanket, the magpie at once flapped its wings and flew off into the nearby eucalyptus forest. I’m sure at that moment my partner’s feelings were very mixed: on the one hand, she rejoiced in the fact that a small creature had been given another chance to carry on its existence, but on the other she was worried about the magpie’s cruelty with regard to other animals. But when all is said and done, magpies are just like human beings with many contradictions, so in the end she just sighed deeply and made her way slowly back to the car parked by the side of the dirt road.

2 thoughts on “《唐人溪 • 喜鵲》

  1. Simon,
    Would be good to catch up if you are somewhere not too far from Melbourne. All the very best. Geoff Emmett

    Like

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