“They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make
To my dear grandchildren,
The Gentle Eider Duck
“He shall cover thee with His feathers, and
under His wings shalt thou trust.”
People who live in Iceland, and many other northern islands, are well acquainted with the eider duck, a sea duck. These birds are seen each May and June when large numbers migrate there to nest and raise their young. These pretty, marbled-brown birds, which weigh about five pounds, have gentle dispositions. They live entirely on seafood while in the breeding grounds. Their large webbed feet propel these excellent divers through the water to the bottom where they find crabs, mussels and oysters to eat.
On these far-northern islands, there are no trees, swamps or brush in which to build nests - only level ground. But in May and June, great areas are covered with short, green grasses, in which these ducks are able to hide their nests. Because there are so many ducks present at one time, they nest close together. During the four weeks of incubating her eggs, the mother duck never eats and only leaves her nest for a short time each morning to take a bath.
The Creator has provided the eider duck with warm feathers and down to preserve it from the intense cold of the northern climate. After laying her eggs, often in the same nest year after year, the female plucks a large quantity of this warm, feathery down from her body to make a blanket to cover the eggs. This down blanket keeps the eggs warm when she leaves for her morning bath. Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord God, the Creator, has given the mother duck the instinct for this?
There is always a market for this duck’s soft down, for it has better insulating quality than any man-made fibers. It is called “eiderdown” and is used to fill pillows and make warm comforters. It is also used in linings of jackets and other outdoor clothing.
The mother duck is very gentle and allows men to lift her off the nest and remove the down. After she is replaced on the nest, she plucks more down from her breast to make a new covering for her eggs. During the nesting season, she allows this to happen twice but will desert her nest and its eggs if it’s done a third time. The down is so light that it takes three dozen nests to produce a pound of down!
The opening Bible verse likens the Lord’s care over His own to that of birds such as the eider duck. But His love and care are far greater than that of the most loving bird. He says,“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee”(Jeremiah 31:3). He has fully shown this love by giving His life on Calvary’s cross to wash away the sins of all who will accept Him as Saviour.
Are you sheltered“under His wings"?
Love you all,