Eider ducks and nature’s cycle
Late winter in the North Atlantic Ocean, just shy of the Arctic Circle, great flocks of ducks, festive black and white drakes, and sensible brown females can be seen frolicking in the white spray of icy waves. This seemingly hostile environment is their habitat, their sanctuary, their breeding ground. Were it not for their unusually rich plumage, these birds would not survive their diving missions for capelin into the dark blue ocean, where the temperature is frequently below fresh water freezing point.
Springtime on the barren, rocky isles along the coastline of Iceland, Eiderdown farmers patrol their eider’s nesting ground, in preparation for the eider’s return from the ocean. Being creatures of habit, they are known to frequent the same nests, year after year.
Eider colony of nests
In a matter of weeks, the female has laid 4 to 5 large mint green eggs into a ring of dark-gunmetal grey, incredibly soft down, which it shed from its belly into the nest. Incubation starts as the female eider plucks more down from her breast to cover her eggs from the cold; it is in this warmth and comfort that the ducklings are born. Eider ducks live in a colony of nests near human settlements. Only after the nest is abandoned may the Eiderdown be gathered. This practice means the birds are undisturbed during the gestation phase, instead, protected by farmers who supply food and ward off poachers. This relationship between wild eider duck and farmer has existed for generations and helps ensure the continued existence of a beautiful rare bird and a valuable resource for the future.
Rare and Unique
Each year, roughly 3500kg of Eiderdown is produced worldwide, and of that over 3000kg originates from Iceland. Roughly 1.2kg of down is used in each Eiderdown duvet, where the only material is 99.8% pure and cleaned Eiderdown. No other filling is used to blend the Eiderdown as we strive to create nothing but the best. The global production capacity, given the numbers above, of Eiderdown duvets is therefore approximately 3000 duvets. Given Eiderdown’s insulation properties and limited worldwide production makes the Skarð duvet a very rare and luxury product.