Let's imagine you're on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and your job is to identify which Laysan Ducks (LADU) are at which seeps. If you've already done ACTIVITY: Laysan Ducks #1 -- Bands, you're almost ready to get started! But first, can you see the difference between the duck on the left and the one below, on the right?The LEFT DUCK is a female because it has:
- a pinkish bill and
- legs that are not very orange.
- This particular female has bands on both legs.
DUCK is a male because it has:
- a bluish bill and
- bright orange legs.
- This male doesn't have any bands at all. We can't learn anything about the male duck. Since he has no bands, there's no way of looking him up in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge's Laysan Duck data base. There's no way of recognizing him again. If we see a male duck, we can't say it's him or another male.
Let's pretend you're doing a survey of LADU at Radar Hill #1 seep shown here. (When Midway was a Naval Air Facility before it became a Refuge, there was a radar station on the hill behind the current seep.) Make a data table like the one below. In the first column write down the abbreviation for your seep, RH1. Now, pretend you're walking slowly up to the seep; try not to disturb the ducks. Look at them carefully. If you were really doing this, you'd look at the ducks through binoculars (see a picture of my binoculars at the bottom of this page.)
Write down each duck's band using the code you learned in the ACTIVITY: Laysan Ducks #1 -- Bands. If the band is on the R Leg (right leg), write its text in the R Leg column. Same thing for L Leg. Also try and write down M for male or F for female for each duck. If you're not sure which it is, you can write "unk" for unknown.
For example, if I were looking at the first duck below I'd say to myself, "female, L Leg, blue "J." Then I'd write down the following:
- R Leg column = "Al," for the metallic aluminum band that's on that leg
- L Leg column = BJ
- Al # = I'd just put a -- here, because even with binoculars I can't see the number.
- Sex = F, for female
- Comments and/or Behavior = I wouldn't have anything to record for this duck.
We'll walk slowly away and not disturb him. Remember: these Laysan Ducks are the rarest ducks in the whole United States! Let's take care of them; sweet dreams, LADU!