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#101 Madagascan Pochard

Critically Endangered

This duck was thought to be extinct for a long time. Only one male was seen in 1991, and he did not survive long. Other than him, none were seen from 1970 until 2006. At that point a group was found in a lake that was not really the best environment for them because it was too deep. They dive to the bottom, holding their breath for 2 minutes in order to (it is assumed, not really known for sure) eat underwater insects and larvae.

Another lake in Madagascar, Lake Sofia, was found and captive bred ducks were released there. In order to help make sure they stayed put, they were first placed in floating aviaries. If they don't stay at the lake, their survival is unlikely. Thankfully it seems they are ok with things, and there have just this year been some ducklings born in the wild. Their numbers have increased from 25 when they were rediscovered and are approaching 100 now. The lake they have been released to does not have as much food as they need so they are being supplemented.

This has way more actual landscape feel to it than I usually do, but I just had to. I try very hard to keep the perspective and composition of animals different so they aren't all the same. If this wasn't a bird that spends most of their life on water, I would have just painted it sitting. I tried to keep it minimal though still. I love photographing birds, but I've discovered that I am awful at panning the camera to photograph a bird that is in flight. I tried to photograph the geese migration once, and that resulted in either blurry images, pictures of just the bird's front half coming into the frame, or goofy looking pictures of the bird's backside as it flew out of the frame.

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