So one of Mojo's historically favorite birds has been the glamorous and colorful wood duck. I can't say why, except as an impressionable wee lass I was taken in by the oily iridescence of the males, and never quite got over it. Plus they nest in holes in the trees, way high up, and of COURSE baby ducks are the CUTEST THINGS IMAGINABLE, and these baby ducks climb their way out the opening of their nest and just JUMP.
It's pretty common in nature shows to show these poor tiny things leap into the abyss. They are usually all right, we are told: they are just these tiny balls of fluff, see, and they float like fluff down to the ground. Still, I don't much care for it, but nobody consulted me.
Anyway, I have always had a soft spot for wood ducks, which I have only seen maybe three or four times in the wild. I don't really specific memories of my birder grandfather, who died when I was fourteen, but I *DO* remember talking birds with him once. He asked me, "What's your favorite bird?" and at the time I said "Wood duck". He responded with "Ahh, that's a handsome bird."
Now that I am old and crochetey I have less patience for those who ask me what my favorite whatever is, or what I prefer, dogs or cats, or any competition that pits worthy contestants needlessly against the other. And I'm sure my grandfather asked me, maybe just to keep me talking, or to see if I was going to go with a LAME pedestrian response, like a robin or a blue jay. Because even most NON-birder people can recognize THEM. But you have to admit, a wood duck is pretty much out of left field. (For the record, nowadays it would probably be more along the lines of a bird of prey, like a peregrine falcon. Because Mojo likes things that swoop down and render tiny baby ducks all asunder. Or something like that. JK, as the texting kids say now, but being an old fogey whenever I see "JK" instead of seeing "just kidding" I automatically think "jerk". And I don't think I'm too far from that. If you have to TELL people you are just kidding, well, it wasn't a very good kid, was it? Besides which, I once knew someone who enjoyed the nasty pleasure of saying mean things to people, and then quickly piping up with "just kidding!" once they felt threatened. They were a pathetic coward all the way 'round. But I digress.)
Anyway, here's a portrait of an emperor penguin done up as a wood duck. If you want it on merch, I can put it on merch. I kinda like it, and that's what counts. Plus, every time I even THINK "wood duck" I remember my grandfather saying "Ahh, that's a handsome bird." I hope you agree…