OK, they told us the ducks were endangered. They may not be endangered, or even threatened. I did not have any resources available to check the status of the ducks. The scientists were sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and they told us they had a permit for 40 ducks. I never saw the permit, but hey, they're the scientists, right? Since they got 1 duck in 1999 (yes, scientists with shotguns - a scary prospect), they still had 39 left for this year's hunt. I was not happy about bagging all those ducks, but am told they will be used to better understand the several hundred thousand remaining foul.

The lecture we had on the ducks was fascinating, especially when they talked about how they took the one duck from 1999 and subjected it to all kinds of tests. They froze the duck, then ran tests on it in a tow tank to determine it's Freud number, Reynold's number, drag coefficients, maximum speed to drag ratio, and other hydrodynamic properties involving buoyancy, caloric expenditure per meter of depth, etc. The new ducks will be analyzed to see if their diet has changed from the traditional clam to a new species of harder to eat clam, among other tests.

One of the main reasons we had to get the ducks this way instead of capturing them is that they do not live on land. They live on the icepack which moves around and eventually melts, and the window to find the ducks each year is limited to the ice conditions. In 1999, the ice was mostly gone by the time the scientists showed up. This year they went earlier, so there were more ducks. Since the scientists can't live on the icepack due to it's thinness (for humans) and other hazards like polar bears and whales, their only choice (apparently) was to collect the ducks as quickly as possible and freeze them for later.

We did get a lot of milage out of Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, and Rubber Ducky jokes though. Here is a picture of our DET plaque:

It was an interesting & difficult operation. Hopefully they can figure out what is threatening the ducks and help them to multiply. OK, time to get back to the slideshow.