Stellers Eider

Stellers Eider are a small but very hardy bird from the far North.  They can be found all the Arctic coast line of Alaska, the far north of Norway, and Siberia.  They live in the harsh environment in the frozen lands where during the winter when the days are short, and food is scarce.
Stellers Eider are the smallest of the Eider species with males being about 45 cm long, females are slightly smaller.  The total world population is estimated of up to 150, 000 birds.  During the winter months the numbers can sometimes reach 20, 000  which is a sizable chunk.  The world population is vulnerable as the population in Alaska is falling, but due to the fact it lives in an area inhospitable to man, it is hoped that some of the birds may have moved to even more remote and isolated areas.

These hardy seaducks are not easy to see as during the warmer months they move even further north to the tundra to breed, they feature on many a bird watchers list of species to see, but one of the easiest places to see them is a visit to Finnmark during the winter months.  Finnmark, is an area in the extreme northeast of Norway, Its land borders Troms county to the west, Finnish Lapland to the south and the Murmansk area of Russia to the east.  To the north is the Barents sea and the Arctic Ocean.  Finnmark is a very cold and the wind chill is high, during the winter months it is covered in snow and ice.  Food is scarce for the wildlife, and mans survival is not long without protective equipment.  Yet, as incredible as it may seem, a winter visit to these frozen lands is one of the best places to visit to see and photograph Stellers Eider.

Above images are of male Stellers Eiders, and below is the female.