The Icelandic eider duck is a local species that lives along the country’s coast.
Eider farming and down collection is based on centuries-old traditions. Farmers provide wild eiders protection from predators, patrolling colonies day-and-night during nesting season.
A unique relationship has developed between farmers and eiders. They trust each other.
In spring the farmers prepare for the arrival of the eider. They clean the nesting area. To encourage the bird’s return, farmers often use radios and colorful items.
At nesting time the female eider sheds the down from her breast. This exposes her body warmth to the eggs while nesting. When it’s safe for the eiders, farmers carefully collect the down.
When an adult eider is two to three years old it begins nesting. It usually returns to the area where it hatched to start a nest of its own.