Moms, aunties, grandmoms, and sisters raise Common Eider ducklings in large communal nurseries called crèches. This creche of Common Eiders was feeding on the abundance of seaweed and sea lettuce found along the shores of Cape Ann.
Often enough a wave would wash a few ducklings onshore and they would frantically race back to join the nursery. It was easy to see how the ducklings can become separated from their family. We occasionally find Common Eider ducklings on shore and there is a technique to reuniting them with a crèche.
Late this afternoon on my way home from an appointment I drove along Good Harbor and the Backshore (because you should always take the scenic route home) and passed not one, but two weddings. It’s so nice to see our community returning to normal!
Driving past Niles Beach I had to stop because a Mama and Auntie Common Eider had a sizable crèche in tow, foraging in the shallows at the shoreline. I ran into my friend Michele and we had a sweet chat and a brief walk. That’s why I always take the scenic route home <3
Lobster Boat Arethusa and Crèche of Common Eider Hens and Ducklings
You never know what wonderful glimpses of wild life you may encounter at Captain Joe and Sons. Sunday morning during the podcast, a crèche of fourteen Common Eider ducklings and their mother hens were spotted, bobbing in the waves and foraging at the edge of the dock.
Common Eider Moms, along with non-breeding “aunties,” band together for protection. The individual broods come together to form a crèche, which may include as many as 150 ducklings!