Eider Down

Male and Female Eiders displaying

Male and Female Eiders displaying

Nesting female Eider - the first discovered today!

Nesting female Eider – the first discovered today!

Up close...Cryptic camouflage of a female Eider

Up close…Cryptic camouflage of a female Eider

Thursday 16th April comments: The breeding season is well and truly upon us as today we discovered our first Eider sitting on eggs. A number of females have been prospecting for suitable nest sites in recent days and today the first female sitting on eggs was discovered.

These large seaduck have very cryptic plumage to help camouflage them against potential predators such as the large Gulls which would make a quick meal out of a nest full of eggs. Once the full clutch is laid, the females will incubate the eggs for between 24-26 days and during this period she will not feed and can lose up to 40% of her body weight.

However it’s a strategy which works and the Isle of May supports up to 1,000 nesting females, so we still have plenty more to arrive over the next month or so as the season continues to build.

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