QUESTION: How can we "touch" a Laysan Duck?
What does it feel like to sit next to a small freshwater pond on a 2-square-mile island in the middle of a salty ocean and see a fuzzy duckling swimming after its mother duck?! How can we love and care about these special birds?
SUGGESTION: For a week or two, host ducklings in a classroom setting!
If students have an opportunity to see a duckling as it putters around on tiny webbed feet, touch and hold its warm, fuzzy body, and hear its young peeping sounds...then the students' experience will extend to the Laysan species as well. When my son was young, we went to a farm supply store and bought a couple muscovy ducklings; they were little, brown fuzz balls! My son took over care of the ducklings, and as they grew up they become (outdoors!) pets. To this day, he is fond of ducks.
With those concerns in mind, here are several additional suggestions--
- Start the classroom project by incubating duck eggs, if an incubator is available. Nothing quite like seeing a hatching!
- In place of ducks in the classroom, take a field trip to a farm, or a petting zoo with farm animals.
- Take a field trip to a wetlands or refuge where there are wild ducks. Perhaps a ranger or experienced bird watcher could guide students while they observe duck behavior. Students could make drawings, take photos/videos/sound recordings...depending upon equipment available.
- Perhaps compete in the annual US fish and Wildlife Service's Junior Duck Stamp Program.
- Cornell University's Duck Research Laboratory -- Hatching Duck Eggs
- Handy Hints for Raising Ducklings!