The Common Eider
The name eider comes from the Icelandic aedhar, and the word "eiderdown," is a derivative of the word oedardun, meaning eider duck's down.
The vast majority of Common Eiders nest on the coasts of Iceland, Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic Islands, notably, in the St. Lawrence Estuary, Labrador and Hudson Bay.
Protected nesting habitats
The Common Eider duck survives in the icy waters of the Northern Hemisphere. Québec's bird sanctuaries on the islands of the St. Lawrence Estuary provide a safe place for the eider ducks to rest and nest during their annual migration. The eider duck colony of Île aux Pommes plays an essential role in maintaining the migrating eider population in Québec. The annual eiderdown harvest yields precious scientific data used by biologists and The Canadian Wildlife Service to manage the species and its habitat.
Eiderdown has been harvested for a millennial
Eiderdown has unique properties recognized by Icelanders going back a thousand years, and for at least three centuries by the first inhabitants of New France, which eventually became Québec. These early French settlers, overwhelmed by the harshness of Canadian winters, negotiated the purchase of eiderdown from the Indigenous peoples of the Lower North Shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Eiderdown is harvested once a year, collected by hand from wild eider ducks' nests.
No bird is harmed in the process.
Instead, this regulated harvest helps protect nesting habitat while promoting biodiversity. In the St.Lawrence Estuary, the sustainable harvest of eiderdown establishes an extraordinary partnership between humans and eider; the benefits derived from the harvest have led to the acquisition, protection and conservation of several nesting islands.
A circular economy
The harvest generates funds directed into concrete measures for the conservation and enhancement of the natural environment. Relying on Canadian eiderdown allows us to source locally and encourage small economies in remote areas. Being cleaned, washed and sterilized in Canada, all of our down exceeds Canadian and international cleanliness standards and significantly reduces our carbon footprint.