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Eider Decline Research

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Eider Decline Research
Not a lot of detail in this article, but researchers in both Maine and Atlantic Canada are taking the eider decline seriously.

https://www.cbc.ca/...tic-canada-1.6421014

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Good morning, Jeff~


Interesting! I had heard about similar declines in Puffin attributed to the warming Gulf of Maine and decline in sand lances. On the other hand, we are seeing an apparent Common Eider expansion on Long Island - both in winter and breeding season.


All the best,


SJS


Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
I believe I?m seeing the same in southern RI, are the ones in Long Island breeding?
Hunt and fish, fish and hunt,
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
 Jeff, Thanks for posting this article. It will be interesting to see what the researchers come up with Jeff.

Tom
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
This is the year we loose the special sea duck season AND the sea duck limit is down as well (max 4, 3 max of any one species and one hen eider).
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
tod osier wrote:
This is the year we loose the special sea duck season AND the sea duck limit is down as well (max 4, 3 max of any one species and one hen eider).


Yup. Not clear to me if hunting is part of the problem--most of the hypotheses seem more related to rising seawater temps and related shifts in food availability--but if I hunted or guided eiders I'd a lot rather have seen the switch to lower bag limits a while ago and kept the extended season.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Jeff Reardon wrote:
tod osier wrote:
This is the year we loose the special sea duck season AND the sea duck limit is down as well (max 4, 3 max of any one species and one hen eider).



Yup. Not clear to me if hunting is part of the problem--most of the hypotheses seem more related to rising seawater temps and related shifts in food availability--but if I hunted or guided eiders I'd a lot rather have seen the switch to lower bag limits a while ago and kept the extended season.


They are long-lived birds that start to reproduce late, I can see hunting related mortality to be an issue, but who knows????? Given their quality as table fare and the likelihood that many of those taken are not eaten, being more conservative is OK with me.
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
tod osier wrote:
Jeff Reardon wrote:
tod osier wrote:
This is the year we loose the special sea duck season AND the sea duck limit is down as well (max 4, 3 max of any one species and one hen eider).



Yup. Not clear to me if hunting is part of the problem--most of the hypotheses seem more related to rising seawater temps and related shifts in food availability--but if I hunted or guided eiders I'd a lot rather have seen the switch to lower bag limits a while ago and kept the extended season.


They are long-lived birds that start to reproduce late, I can see hunting related mortality to be an issue, but who knows????? Given their quality as table fare and the likelihood that many of those taken are not eaten, being more conservative is OK with me.


I always understood why people like to hunt them for the experience, or as a bucket list bird. I never understood someone wanting to shoot a limit especially when the limits were higher.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Thanks Jeff,

I hadn't seen this article yet. The date change will be interesting, especially to see how many go out for the 6 day hunt in Oct. Could be a way to get 6 days off the the 60 day count with relatively low pressure? Who knows though, plenty of birds around that time of year, just not much color and with the one hen limit (which was a long time coming) it's yet to be seen how busy the boat ramps will be.
"Pass the Tradition Along"
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Troy Fields wrote:
Thanks Jeff,

I hadn't seen this article yet. The date change will be interesting, especially to see how many go out for the 6 day hunt in Oct. Could be a way to get 6 days off the the 60 day count with relatively low pressure? Who knows though, plenty of birds around that time of year, just not much color and with the one hen limit (which was a long time coming) it's yet to be seen how busy the boat ramps will be.


You'd know better than me on this stuff. Our day with you a couple of years ago is one of only two times I've actually targeted eiders or other seaducks. I wonder whether scoters and longtails are enough to still bring out the clients. You still have the experience of the Maine coast in fall/winter and to me that was the primary draw. When out for late season black ducks, we do see some folks targeting longtails in parts of Middle Bay and Maquoit Bay where there are rarely many eiders around, so at least a few folks are doing it. Not sure if they are guides.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Years back when we had the 120 days, OS never started to show up until mid November, at least where I am. So October was always just Scoter and Eider (but never many white birds around then). The mixed bag of sea ducks is an attraction and I for one am glad to have puddle ducks open for the entire "sea duck" season. It gives more options on bad days, especially if black ducks, buffies or GE are a target species. Only time will tell.
"Pass the Tradition Along"
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Troy Fields wrote:
Years back when we had the 120 days, OS never started to show up until mid November, at least where I am. So October was always just Scoter and Eider (but never many white birds around then). The mixed bag of sea ducks is an attraction and I for one am glad to have puddle ducks open for the entire "sea duck" season. It gives more options on bad days, especially if black ducks, buffies or GE are a target species. Only time will tell.


Not that I want to suggest this, as there is already enough pressure on them, but it surprises me to not see guides targeting the late season salt water black ducks in the places I hunt. To me that's the premiere Maine waterfowl hunt. Maybe just not enough action. It can be a long cold boat ride following a long sit to wait for a handful of birds to flare from the decoys just beyond shotgun range. Especially back in the one black duck days.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
I'm betting we'll see increased pressure on the puddle ducks as a result of the combined season and limits. I'll stop short of calling it a disaster for black ducks, but not far from it. Also bad news for those in the TDB-style boat building business, on the coasts it's fair to say the majority of the larger boats are bought to hunt sea ducks.
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
I hypothesized there would be a glut of used sea duck boats for sale. Still waiting to see an 18 at a reasonable price for when my kids can hunt with me. So far everyone thinks less useful boats are like the housing market and are worth more than they were new

Last edited by:

Nick Zito: Apr 21, 2022, 4:36 PM
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
I bet you'll find a used boat for a reasonable price this summer Nick. It's time for the economy to cool off. You won't be able to afford fuel for it, but you'll get a nice boat. Wink
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
We can go back to Wood gasification, like the ideas for cars were in the 40s. Love seeing those old ideas.
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Jeff,

The article says Eiders are harvested for their feathers. Being a Mississippi Flyway guy, I don't know much about Eiders, but do people besides hunters harvest them for feathers. Probably a dumb question.

RVZ
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Rod VanZile wrote:
Jeff,

The article says Eiders are harvested for their feathers. Being a Mississippi Flyway guy, I don't know much about Eiders, but do people besides hunters harvest them for feathers. Probably a dumb question.

RVZ


I am pretty sure they are not harvested for feathers in the US--though that could be a lucrative market for a sea-duck guide!--but they may be in Canada. Perhaps some are harvested for down in Canada? A quick Google found me sources that suggest in Iceland harvest is from the nests, not live or dead bird, and in some other places down is harvester from live birds.

Can't find any references to harvest for feathers.

Brad Bortner might know.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Eider down is typically harvested from down lined nests after they are abandoned. In the way back times, LL Bean paid college students to gather it in the summer for their down coats and sleeping bags. There was a time you could buy Eider down items, as opposed to goose down, which comes from domestic birds. Eider down is the gold standard in down, gives the most loft.
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
You can still buy eider down pillows, comforters and the like. Most come from Iceland. My wife and I bought eider down pillows some years ago, they are great. Absurdly expensive, but every once in a while a little madness keeps everyone happy.
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Just an FYI about eiderdown. Eiderdown has been harvested by Icelanders for centuries. They harvest the down once in the middle of incubation and once the young leave the nest. Because the Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits commercial use of migratory birds, parts and feathers, you can use eiderdown from birds you harvested or buy eiderdown from properly authorized importers. The importers are required to document lawful collection of down and declare its importation.

As for breeding status of eiders on Atlantic Coast, it?s been a concern for a number of years with the states and feds. The causes of the decline are unclear which is why the research is taking place. There has been lots of speculation in causes but no definitive proof yet.
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Re: Eider Decline Research In reply to
Eider are not harvested for their down-food and trophies, probably. The info about harvesting from abandoned nesting sites is a lot morepractical.. Considering the Migratory Bird Treaty between Canada, US and Mexico, i would surmise that harvesting for down is a no-no!
george@runamuckdecoys.com