Improving Eider breeding succes in the Åland Islands 28th January 2022

After witnessing a dramatic decline of the Baltic Sea Eider population, the project “Friends of the Eider” was initiated in 2019. The project aims to find and develop efficient management methods to improve Eider breeding success in the Åland Archipelago.

By Lucas Wideman, chairman of Ådans Vänner
Photo and video by Ådans Vänner

Over the past decades, we have witnessed a heavy decline of the Baltic Sea Eider population. A growing concern for the Eider was clearly expressed by the local waterfowling community in the Åland Archipelago, the concern grew into action and our project started as an NGO.

We have gathered traditional management methods and the latest scientifical studies and combined them into practical efforts in the Eider breeding colonies. On top of that, we have collected our own data and information and used it to further improve the result.

The concept we currently have adopted at Båtskären in the southwest Åland archipelago is unique and it goes as far as having Eider Guards on site 24/7 during the breeding season. Another key effort to success is to limit predation as far as practically possible. It is especially important to remove all invasive predators; otherwise all other efforts will be lost.


Success with improving eider survival

The result so far has been remarkable, and we have seen a very high duckling survival rate in the area – which you do not find in other places.

This project relies on voluntary efforts, mainly by local waterfowlers. Thanks to the widespread affection for the culturally important Eider in the archipelago, cooperation with government, private companies and environmental organizations has been smooth.

It is in our opinion of the highest importance to act urgently on a broad level to protect the few large colonies of breeding Eider in the Baltic Sea. With our project, we have shown that it is possible to do so.