Spectacled eiders spend most of the year on marine water where they feed primarily on clams. They nest on coastal tundra near shallow ponds or lakes, usually within 10 feet of the water. After breeding, they move offshore to molt. After molting, eiders from all breeding populations migrate to the central Bering Sea south of St. Lawrence Island, where they remain in large flocks until March or April.
Critical habitat was designated for molting in Norton Sound and Ledyard Bay; for nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta; and for wintering south of St. Lawrence Island.
There are three breeding populations, two in Alaska and one in Russia.
Reasons for initial population decline and range contraction are unknown. Ingestion of lead shot, predation, and harvest may currently be limiting population growth.
Work with partners to:
- Monitor the population through aerial surveys on the Arctic Coastal Plan and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska.
- Continue research to better understand the biology and needs of this species, particularly in relation to changes in their marine wintering habitat in the Bering Sea.
- Continue outreach and education to reduce the use of toxic lead ammunition in the breeding areas.