|Yakushima Rain Duck, after deployment and subsequent molt|
It is not terribly well-known, but Yakushima Island is one of the rainiest places in the world. It is said that it rains there "35 days a month."
Even less well-known is the reason for all that precipitation. However, thanks to negotiations that have been ongoing over the last 36 months, we are going to be in on the ground floor so to speak, of the special feature that makes the little island so damp. We will be selling these rain-making capabilities through a franchise to drought stricken areas all over the world. Under the auspices of No More Sahara.com, we will be sending little rain-producing rockets wherever they are needed.
That's right! We are getting......
Yakushima Rain Ducks!
Yup. We had to jump through hoops you couldn't imagine, from background checks to year-long humidity monitors in all our buildings, including the house, (in case sick ducklings need to be brought indoors for extra nursing). There have been scientists here nearly every day since we sold the cows.
You know how it's rained so much here over the past few years? I wasn't allowed to tell you about it, but the company was testing flights of ducklings, to make sure this was the right kind of location for them. Habitat is everything, you see. One worry I have had is escapees. It is hard enough to make hay here now.....guess we had better keep the pens real tight.
Anyhow, we were finally awarded a franchise. Right now there are only five in the world! It isn't going to be easy.
You see, for their entire lives, right up until they are deployed, the ducklings must be kept damp. Dry air triggers them. I can't reveal the exact percentage of moisture in their proper environment due to non-disclosure agreements we were required to sign, but as long as they are appropriately soggy, they will not deploy their special rain-making capabilities. However, let them dry out, even for a few minutes, and look out. They are very fast fliers too, and can fly within three weeks after hatching. They must be brooded, either under mother ducks, which must be allowed to swim in special, sterile water, at least 30 times per day (have you ever tried to keep water clean around ducks, let alone sterile?) in order to keep their feathers properly dampened........
...Or else they are hatched in special sponge-walled incubators, and brooded in imported terry-cloth lined bread boxes, with special wicking technology that keeps them just wet enough, while warming them to the correct temperature with hot water bottles, which must be refilled every hour, around the clock.
On their native island the ducks are raised in buildings that look a lot like greenhouses, with special green glass walls that protect them from excess sunlight (don't want them drying out) and keep them from flying too much as they fledge. The little white ducks ability to fly so fast and so early is part of what makes them so valuable.
Here at Northview, we will not be allowed to keep mother or father ducks. No More Sahara is afraid of losing control of the breeding stock.....remember Noah? Yeah, he had two of them and look what happened. Thus the kids have been setting up racks of the brooders and incubators, and sterile pens (with very tight roofs) for the ducklings after they are fledged. You see, the secret to their ability to cause it to rain, is their feathers.
Each duck has myriad curly feathers, covered with tiny comb-like cilia, which agitate the air when they fly, producing rain droplets 86.7% of the time. Two ducks flying over your house will result in a short shower, just enough to lay the dust. Two-hundred ducks will produce an all-day, all-night, steady rain, which is perfect for crop needs, or to help in postponing unpleasant social gatherings. When a couple of thousand escaped from a Chinese duckery back in 2004 the resulting monsoon was no joke.
Right now, the ducks, when fledged, will sell for about 160 dollars each, but as they become more readily available, that will probably go down. Maybe not though. This may be the next big thing, like llamas and emus and all.
The most elegant part of the rain duck equation is that once the ducklings have done their watery thing... and they can only do it once....they glide to the ground, molt the fuzzy white feathers, and quickly grow new ones that make them look like ordinary mallards....that huge flock that wintered down in front of McDonald's? Yup, they came from here. Thus the landscape will not be cluttered up with funny looking fluffy white ducks after every rain duck deployment. It's a win-win deal..
Meanwhile, Charles M. Hatfield, the founder of No More Sahara, believes that with proper use of duck technology, drought will be a thing of the past, and deserts optional landscaping features..Mankind has always wanted to control the weather. Duckkind has been doing it all along.
Anyhow, the kids are out in the barn right now, unpacking the special cases of rain duck eggs and setting them in the fancy brooders....I suppose that I had better go help them.