|Laysan Atoll; aerial photo by Andy Collins|
It's not good for a duck -- or any species -- to live in only one area! A tsunami or hurricane could wipe us Ducks out; we'd go EXTINCT!! To try and save us from extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service brought some of us to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Having Laysan Ducks in two places helps us survive.
But before the trans-location could take place, in 2004 and '05 USFWS removed the alien-invasive plant Verbesina from some areas on Midway. They used a big vehicle called a backhoe to dig about a dozen large holes in these areas. Freshwater from the surrounding sandy soil slowly seeped into the holes, so we now call these freshwater-filled holes "seeps." Many people helped to plant native Bunch Grass (Kawelu in Hawaiian, Eragrostis variabilis) around the seeps. The document "Examples of Successful Habitat Restoration (pdf)" has lots of pictures showing the creation of Monument Seep on Eastern island.
After the Kawelu had grown and when everything was ready for us, the Service trans-located some of us Ducks from Laysan to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. I, Kahiko Ladu, wasn't one of the original 2004 or '05 ducks, but my friend was. She came to Midway in 2005, and she now goes by the name "WT," since that's the bird band the biologists put on her right leg. "W" stands for the color of the band, white, and it has a black "T" on it. Barb surveyed Monument Seep today and took this picture of WT. It's a little hard to see, but WT's bill is pinkish; male ducks' bills are darker with a bluish color. (That's a Laysan Albatross chick in the background, and an albatross wing coming in on the right-side of the picture.)