Observations on the biology of the Spectacled Eider
Probably no species of North American waterfowl is more poorly known than the Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri (Brandt)), whose range in North America is limited to the western and northern coasts of Alaska... In an attempt to observe and film the displays of this species for comparative purposes, and to collect eggs for subsequent hatching and rearing, an expedition was made in June 1963 to the Igiak Bay region by myself and Mr. Glen Smart. A chance meeting with Dr. Brina Kessel and two students from the University of Alaska resulted in the formation of a joint expedition, which proved to be of mutual benefit and enjoyment. Our time of arrival (7th June) was planned in the hope that we would be able to observe late stages of pair formation and obtain unincubated eggs. Unfortunately by this date nests were well under way, and we were able to find only partially incubated eggs, which are far less desirable for transporting than freshly laid eggs would have been. Observations on the displays and relationships of this species have been published elsewhere (Johnsgard, 1964), but many of our experiences and observations exclusive of the strictly behavioural ones seem worth recording here, especially since so little is known about the biology of the Spectacled Eider.
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