Friends of the Eider is a conservation project for the Common Eider in their breeding grounds in the Åland archipelago. The project started as a result of the heavy decline in the population during the last decades. It is run and administrated voluntarily by local hunters.
The methods used are unique and mostly tested and developed in house by the organisation. These methods are a mix of traditional management efforts combined with latest research on variables that drive the Eider population decline. By taking in this information, processing it into a concept, trying it and then using the lessons learnt to develop the method further the organisation has come a long way in managing the Eider during its breeding season.
This video has English subtitles available.
The results show great success as the Eider’s breeding success increased from 31 nests where brooding succeed for the breeding season 2020 to 113 nests for the breeding season 2021, highlighting the short time period success. The organisation is proud to be able to show a breeding survival rate of 2,6 ducklings/eider female that attempt nesting which is – to their knowledge – the best in the Baltic Sea area.
Thousands of voluntary hours were put into the project using various methods, such as :
- 24/7 surveillance to avoid predation on nesting females and ducklings during the nesting period in spring time,
- The making of around 500 Eider shelters that were located in the outer archipelago,
- The meticulous management of invasive predators (mink and raccoon dog) in the breeding areas,
- The limitation of predation overall to a minimum and we
- Closely following the result with frequent counting of the eiders in the area together with local ornithologists.
EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – The Strategy calls for more community-based actions led by citizens, businesses, or social partners to protect and restore Europe’s nature. This project demonstrates yet again the essential role of hunters in implementing the Strategy throughout Europe in the next 10 years as it is an excellent example of how hunters are contributing to delivering the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. It accurately describes what can be accomplished for biodiversity and how to achieve those results.
See also article on “Improving Eider breeding success in the Åland Islands” by Waterfowler’s Network, 28 January 2022.
Region: Åland Islands
Starting date: 2019
Species: Protected species, Invasive Alien species, Huntable species
Species characteristics: Protected species, Invasive Alien species, Huntable species
Type of actions: Management of habitats and wildlife, Research and data collection, Nature education and awareness,
Leading partner: Archipelago Pares RF
Other partners: Hunting organizations, Ornithologists, Local government, local LEADER. It is mostly funded by voluntary work, donations and by funding from the local government