Winter Visitor – Common Eider

The Common Eider is the largest duck in the Northern Hemisphere. It is definitely common since it breeds all along the northern Alaska and Canada coasts, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Russia and Siberia. The don’t migrate very far but they do come as far south as our coast and in good numbers. They are probably most known for their insulating down which is harvested from nests without hurting the birds.

They are almost as large as a Snow Goose and have very noticeable long, sloping lobe on their beak that almost reaches the top of their head. The males are black and white with a bit of green on the neck.

The females are a russet brown color with black barring.

An Eider pair…

A male doing a little stretching…

Common Eiders are truly a common site on our coast in the winter as they dine on mussels, small crabs, urchins, worms and fish eggs.

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