Object of the month: Eider couple

Monthly Artifacts

Eider couple

These eider ducks became a part of Alta Museum’s collection in 1994. The common eider nest along the entire coast of Norway where they are considered a threatened species. The male eider’s plumage is primarily black and white, whereas the female is brown and black. In Northern Norway they are in several places known as ekall and ea. The Northern Sami names are ákta and hávda.

Eider ducks pluck down from their chest and use it to isolate their nests. After the ducklings have left, the down can be collected. Eiderdown is renowned as the very finest filling for duvets, and the collection of eiderdowns has been important since ancient times. In several places along the coast people cared for the eiders by building nests for them and protecting them from predators.

Vegaøyan World Heritage Site celebrates the continuing eiderdown tradition in the unique cultural landscape of the Vega islands in southern Nordland. In our permanent exhibitions, you can learn more about the eiders of Vega and about the other Unesco World Heritage sites in Norway.

Written by Lena Karlstrøm, curator