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Eider duck news

Eider duck news: Biologists have revealed some interesting facts about common eider ducks in Spitsbergen. They were negatively affected by egg and down feather collecting until they were protected in 1963. Since 1973, important breeding colonies, mostly on small islands, may not be visited anymore without special permission, which is only issued to scientists and occasionally professional local down collectors. Nevertheless, numbers of breeding common eiders at colonies in Kongsfjorden have remained stable, but did not increase.

Another colony in Bellsund shows however pronounced growth: this is the colony on the small island Eholmen, where a local Norwegian trapper has collected down over years. Careful collecting does not have any negative impact on the breeding success. Protection from predators such as polar bears and foxes which is provided by the trapper seems to have a positive impact, making the site attractive for breedings ducks. The numbers of breeders have consequently increased significantly.

Common eider ducks may possibly also benefit from a warming climate, for example from an early break-up of fjord ice which makes breeding colonies on islands inaccessible for the polar fox, which is generally an important predator.

Breeding common eiders in Adventdalen near Longyearbyen.

Eider duck news - Breeding common eider ducks

Source: NINA.

last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange