February 2nd, 2010


3:00 snapshot #414; Daily Zoo Animal #28: Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eider Somateria fischeri

The spectacled eider is a large colorful sea duck found in northern Alaska and coastal Siberia. For reasons that are not well understood their numbers plummeted at the end of the twentieth century. The Alaska Sealife Center and other agencies are engaged in studies to better understand the species, its natural history, and the challenges to its recovery. When these ducks are anaesthetized for veterinary procedures, they have to be kept on ice packs in order to keep their body temperatures down. The spectacled eiders are on exhibit in the annex attached to (but separate from) the Andean condor flight cage. These eiders were napping behind me as I did some work on the fence separating the two exhibits.