We often don't hear about conservation success stories, and that can make it seem like conservation is always a losing battle. But there have been many examples of species or subspecies being brought back from the brink of extinction, and the Common Eider is one such species.
Common Eiders are eye-catching sea ducks that are found in the northern reaches of the Northern Hemisphere. In North America, they breed along the coasts of Alaska and Maine, as well as the northern and eastern coastlines of Canada. There are 6 subspecies, with the one pictured being the American subspecies (Somateria mollissima dresseri). This subspecies lives only on the Atlantic Coast of North America, breeding from Maine north to Newfoundland and Labrador, and overwintering south to New Jersey.
During the 1800s, the Common Eider American subspecies was extensively hunted for food and for their feathers. This unregulated hunting decimated the populations along the Atlantic Coast, and the subspecies almost went extinct. Hunting regulation laws passed in the early 1900s brought this over harvesting to an end. Further protection and conservation efforts (such as habitat protection) has led to their populations recovering over time.
Nowadays the American subspecies numbers in the hundreds of thousands. But despite the success, it's important to not get complacent.
The individual pictured was found off the rocky shoreline of Biddeford Pool in southeastern Maine.
Had to put the #ducks in with the #chickens in a temporary@shelter made of pallets and wire with a heat lamp. Too cold to be without a lamp and no electricity down at the duck house. Hopefully now all the poultry will be warm. #winter#iowa#deepfreeze