Answers to Interesting Questions

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Health Editor’s Note: Here are some answers to varying questions.  You might learn something new…..Carol

What Bird Lays the Biggest Eggs Compared to Its Body Size? Where Does ‘Lame Duck’ Come From? And More Questions From Our Readers

by Anna Diamond/Smithsonian Magazine 2020

I’ve read that ostriches lay the biggest eggs. But what land bird lays the biggest egg for its body size?

— Matthew Chase | Washington, D.C.

That would be the North Island brown kiwi, says Kathy Brader, senior bird keeper at the National Zoo, which in 1975 bred the first kiwi outside its native New Zealand. A female kiwi lays an egg that is 15 to 22 percent of her weight. A male then incubates the egg for 68 to 91 days. When the chick hatches, it is soon self-sufficient and won’t imprint on its parents. Unlike most birds, female brown kiwis have two functioning ovaries and, unlike other kiwi species, they will lay multiple eggs per season.

Q: Where does the phrase “lame duck” come from?

— Anonymous | Boston

A British economics term from the 18th century, it referred to someone going bankrupt. The term was first applied to the presidency in the winter of 1928-9, as Calvin Coolidge waited out the end of his term. In 1933, the states ratified the 20th Amendment, or the “Lame Duck” Amendment, ….

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