Laysan Duck

Laysan Duck.Photo courtesy of Roy Lowe

Talk about your close calls. This duck lives on one small island in Hawaii , the one you’ve never heard about. At one point its survival rested on a single surviving female: a nocturnal, sedentary girl who eats almost exclusively brine flies, which are themselves highly susceptible to drought.

You think this movie ends badly, and it still could. But for now, if you find yourself on Laysan Island and see a small duck, at night, rooting around a supersaline lake, you can bet dollars to donuts it’s a Laysan. The female quacks and the male whistles, in case you’re curious.

And there are a few more where that one came from. An ‘insurance’ population on Midway reduces the chance of a catastrophic event wiping out the entire species, since it is unlikely that a disaster would strike two islands simultaneously. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.