Date: 1/9/19 9:55 pm
From: Glenn Williams via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Common Eider behavior

Several of my observations this winter were with Andrew Dasinger, Phil Rusch, and/or Scott Tsagarakis, who have been birding decades longer than I have and expressed their surprise at this eider behavior.  When I started birding in the early 90's and into the 2000's, Common Eider were a review species requiring a request for a write up from ARCC and most Connecticut birders had seen more King Eiders in Connecticut than Common Eiders.  

I found Common Eider nests on South Dumpling Island (NY waters) in the mid-2000's which was then the southern-most nesting confirmation of that species.  Tina Green saw downy Common Eider young in Groton within the past few years but the tendency of this species to abandon nests and swim great distance from the nesting area precluded Common Eider nesting confirmation in Connecticut.  I suspect that that 2019 will be the year that someone will confirm proof of eider nesting in Connecticut based on the current increase in their wintering and year-round population increase in the state.  I will be checking islands in the eastern end of the Sound this spring.  Past experience and research suggests nests will be on islands with brush cover near the water.  I have seen nests among boulders near the shore, on soil under bushes near the shore, and slightly further back from the water on soil, but near brush cover. The grayish-brown downy feathers nests will be the only large feathered nests on coastal islands.  The eggs will be grayish olive to light brown.  Look from early May on if you have boat access.  Islands too close to shore may be too easy for predators to access and prevent nesting.  South Dumpling Island is so far far out into the Sound to be in NY waters and yet a coyote was observed out there several years ago.  Greg Hanisek has anticipated proof of eider nesting on islands on the eastern Connecticut part of the Sound any time now.  He tends to be right about these things.

Glenn Williams

This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA) for the discussion of birds and birding in Connecticut.
For subscription information visit
Join us on Facebook!