29 Mar 2011

The Eider Duck ( a thought)

As you may be well aware I do like to include postings based on my research into ornithology and natural history in earlier times, (1930-1946 being the time span of my interest) by eminent people in this field, for they have paved the way for the interest in natural history and ornithology which is now, thanks to certain TV coverage the societies and people such as B. Oddie, Simon King etc, all playing a part into giving the public and importantly children, for they will be the platform that will launch further interest by making their offspring respect wildlife and not only that be interested in it......

The lot of the female (eider) is suffered to lay her five or six eggs, which are placed in a nest constructed of marine plants, with the warm elastic material in question as a lining, these eggs and the down are taken, she then relines her nest, and lays a second time: the eggs and down are again abstracted. Unable to supply more down, the male now strips his breast, and furnishes a supply, known by its pale colour; on this the female lays two or three eggs, which she is suffered to have unmolested. . .. The quantity afforded by a single female is, when cleaned, about half-a-pound.— Royal Illustrated Natural History (circa 1880). I do believe that Scottish islanders are allowed to glean from the nests of the Eider as they have done for centuries but I am sure the allowed quantities are nowhere the amounts I have shown below.

The table below shows the products obtained from Greenland in 1945-1946, issued by the Danish Foreign Office Journal 1948.

Eiderdown................666 Kilos

Feathers.................. 12,842 Kilos

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