Due to the toll avian influenza has taken on nesting populations in Canada, Maine waterfowl hunters are being asked to avoid harvesting female and immature eider sea ducks.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is asking hunters to avoid the taking of immature and female eider sea ducks. Voluntary compliance with the request from wildlife officials comes after Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza killed many nesting female eiders in the St Lawrence waterway in Canada. According to IFW, "an estimated 5-15% of nesting eider females died this year, negatively impacting the eider population, possibly for several years."
Female and immature eider ducks are relatively easy to distinguish between males. In the photo above, notice the white and black plumage of the males. The females eiders are brown in color. Juvenile eiders are also brown in color.
IFW says, "Due to their small clutch size, few eider ducklings are hatched each year and survival of those birds are low due to factors such as gull predation and the challenges of our ocean waters. Loss to Avian Influenza compounds those problems."
Maine's migratory bird laws list eider at a daily bag limit of 3, only one can be a hen.