The Beak Isles
THE BEAK ISLES
The Beak Isles were discovered long ago by the duck brothers Tim Duck One and Tim Duck Two. One spring day many, many years ago, these two bachelor ducks lingered a little too long over cactus punch on the banks of The Rio Grande, and looked up too late to see the last of the "V" formations leave without them. Quickly, they took one last gulp, strapped on their saddlebags and took off in what Tim Duck One thought was more-or-less a northwesterly direction, and right into the grip of a huge storm.
They flapped onward for days in the clouds, hoping they were headed home. Just when they thought they could go no further, the clouds parted. Glittering below in the middle of the ocean were four islands, one large, and the other three much smaller. Each one resembled a duck in some fashion, and together, they looked like a mother duck with her brood. Seeing this as a sign, they descended from the clouds and landed on the largest of the islands. Tim Duck One and Tim Duck Two had discovered The Beak Isles.
And what a perfect place it was! On Greater Beak there were sunny meadows, rolling hills and mountains and streams, one of which ended in a cheerful little pond before it emptied into a meandering river. The Duck brothers made friends with the furred and feathered folk who lived on the banks of the pond and river, and they decided to settle in for a while.
Tim One and Tim Two made friends with the native duck-like birds called duckens, and with the groundhogs and their cousins the marmots. The next spring, Tim Duck Two said to Tim Duck One, "Let's go home to Alaska and bring others to these wonderful islands. We'll make this our home from now on." But Tim Duck One was afraid. He was worried that if he ever left the beautiful Beak Isles, he would get lost again. But Tim Duck Two was much braver, and was not afraid to travel alone.
So, one day that spring, Tim Duck Two strapped on his gear and took off. He headed due north to the Yukon Territory. By June, he was back with a whole flock of his ducky brethren, each bringing his and her kin, plus saws, hammers and nails. Together with the help of the duckens, the marmots, a few groundhogs, several mice, a moose, an elephant, a few turtles and other community-minded animal folk, they built a town that came to be called, after much discussion, "Duckport", in honor of the brave and courageous Tim Duck Two. To this day, statues and symbols of Tim Duck Two are seen all over town. See how many you can spot.
THE BEAK ISLES GEOGRAPHY
The Beak Isles are located in the northeastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America, 42 degrees north latitude by 133 degrees west longitude. This is roughly 400 miles west of the border between California and Oregon.
You learned about how these islands were "discovered" by two migrating ducks who then took the news of their discovery back to their homeland in Alaska and parts of Canada. When news of The Beak Isles reached those northern climes, other migrating ducks and geese became enthralled with tales of a fair land with many ponds, lakes and streams, a place that many, many of them would like to visit, or move to permanently.
This is what happened, then, over the nearly 150 years since Tim Duck One and Tim Duck Two first laid eyes upon the fair landscape below them. What they discovered was a wonderful land populated by an already wide variety of indigenous animal species.
There are four islands in the Beak Isles archipelago. The main island is Greater Beak. It is the easternmost of the group of four. It is shaped much like the profile of a head of a duck, with the beak facing southeast. It measures about 110 miles across at its widest point. The three other Lesser Beaks are North Lesser, South Lesser and the furthest away, West Lesser. Altogether, the distance from the westernmost tip of West Lesser Beak to the easternmost point on Greater Beak covers a distance of roughly 215 miles. In mass, the four islands clumped together are just about the size of the state of New Jersey.
The Beak Isles were formed about 150 million years ago by tectonic forces deep in the Pacific Ocean. They were split off from the mainland over the eons, and are still ever-so-slightly moving west at the rate of 1/4" per year. Every now and then, you can feel a deep rumbling from somewhere deep in the ocean floor.
The central most outstanding land feature of Greater Beak is a range of mountains called the Great Goose Bumps. The largest is Mount Further, at an elevation of 12,657 feet. It is located in the west central part of the island, and is usually covered with snow and glaciers. The longest river in The Beak Isles is The River Wanda Meander, which has its headwaters in the melting snows of Mt. Further. It winds its way south for a few miles before heading northeast, then bends west at the Central Valley. From there it meanders in great loops before making its final reach for the sea on the western coast of Greater Beak. Its journey to the sea covers about 120 miles.
The climate of The Beak Isles is mostly temperate. Greater Beak has the most variable weather. It is dry and warm in the southeast, and cool and rainy in the north. The southwest can be almost tropical, with many warm, humid days from June to September.
Duckport, in the northwest part, is mostly mild. Summers are usually a pleasant 70 to 75 degrees in the daytime. The winters there are cool, however, and can sometimes be downright cold. It snows in Duckport every other winter.