#265 Laysan Duck

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 57

Still peering off way into the distance and pretending we can see Hawaii on our voyage. These are one of the most endangered waterfowl. In spite of non-native species continuing to be a serious threat, conservation efforts seem to be helping because their numbers are increasing. Initially their numbers started to go down when the Polynesians settled the Hawaiian islands. Then introduced cats, rats, mongoose, etc., started to really take their toll. They don't fly well, preferring to walk, run, and fly. Instead of automatically taking to the air when startled they prefer to freeze. That worked well when all they had to contend with was typically flying predators. People and the rest of the predators quite appreciate prey that decides to hold still. They love to run through brine fly swarms, eating as they go. Ducklings can feed themselves by the time they are only 2 days old, but mom guards over them for up to 2 months.

My bff Ladybug's daughter left for basic training in the Air Force today. She is one of my oldest son's best friends. Even though we don't get to hang out with them much because of the virus, it will be tough for everyone with her being gone for 6 months. I hope she manages to like basic training. This picture is my Grandma and the unit she was in during WWII. I won't tell you which one she is, you have to guess. She made it to Lieutenant commander my grandpa said. He also told me that in spite of the fact that he stayed a private his whole army career (he was in the medical field and became a microbiologist), she only pulled rank on him once in their whole marriage. She was very proud of having been one of the highest paid women in the navy at the time. We have a picture of her that was in the newspaper because she joined a single manned navy boat race. I think they were catamarans, but I'm not sure. She not only beat all the women, she beat all the men as well. She was a tough cookie! Even still, one of my favourite memories of her is from the log cabin she and my grandpa lived in (my grandpa built it) in the mountains of Calaveras County, California. It had snowed, and there weren't any sleds but she said we could make garbage bags work for us. We didn't have much cold weather clothes either. She bundled us up in multiple layers of clothes she had there at the cabin, she got all bundled up, and we all tried to avoid the trees while we slid down the hillside. It was so much fun, and the amount of entertainment was increased immensely by watching my grandma and listening to her squeal as she ignored the danger and jumped right in to the adventure.

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