Over the last few days the numbers of Eider duck around the island have notably increased, with many females starting to lay their eggs. A pair waddle up from the water (forgetting they can actually fly!) until the female finds a nesting spot and settles down. The male will stay next to her for a short while and then he’s off again “kooing” after another. The powerful birds are actually the fastest flying duck in the UK, recorded at flying up to 46 miles an hour. Whilst the females are nesting though, they are serene, placid and devoted mothers.
Some females have a favourite spot and choose to nest there year after year, with the one in front of the cottage returning yet again. It’s not a bad view from the office window watching a female settle down and plucking feathers from her chest to make a cosy down lining for her eggs.
The female Eider does all the hard work, sitting on the eggs for around 30 days and when the ducklings are just a day or two old she will lead them to water and start feeding. Once the ducklings have been led to the water, it is not uncommon for many birds to group together to form crèches. This can mean several females overseeing large numbers of ducklings, the idea being that a team of feisty ducks will provide strong protection for vulnerable youngsters.
The Eider really is an underrated and beautiful bird, so why not come and see these camouflaged ducks here on the May.