The Common Eider by Chris Waltho & John Coulson
Published by T & AD Poyser
Hard Back price £50.00 352 pages
ISBN 978 1 4081 2532 8
This makes 3 wildfowl on the trot for this series and the Eider comes out heavier than the last two [Barnacle Goose and Teal]! The longest research has been done on Coquet Island in Northumberland from 1958 – 2006 but the book covers the whole range of this bird including the 6 sub species. This seems to be a bird that has not been affected by global warming in its southern range any way as the species has expanded south over 300 miles since 1850 into Lancashire, Wales and even into Ireland. But there has been no breeding expansion on the east side of Britain! Global warming has not had an affect with the timing of the first egg laid either. Some of the information on predation makes you wonder how this bird survives at all with Killer Whales scooping up whole flocks of males off Shetland and foxes causing whole colonies to dissert like at Tensmuir in Fife. Some adaption like going further out to sea to avoid White tailed Eagles may back fire if Killer Whales find out! The weirdest finding included 2 females nesting side by side and one hatched the other one deserted as it had heard the ducklings thinking they were its ducklings! A great read for a bird that was the world’s first protected species way back in 676 AD.