Bird Watching Season

The Season on Lånan

Nobody lives on Lånan when the winter storms are at their worst. But every spring in April, the birdwatchers return to Lånan. Then begins the hectic bird watching season. Here we give you a brief overview of a typical season on Lånan. All photos in this case were taken by Cyril Ruoso. A fantastic photographer who was here in connection with the case published about us in the German magazine Terra Mater.


April: We make hutches and stone houses

In mid-April, the bird watchers come to Lånan. Then the work of repairing the duck houses and stone houses begins. Old seaweed that has become soil is excavated, and new dried seaweed is placed on the nest. The nest should be large and round like a wreath. In the middle there should be seaweed that the mother duck lays over the eggs when she leaves the nest. To prepare 1000 nests, the birdwatchers depend on light rainfall and good winds. The mothers are picky, so poorly dried seaweed is not tolerated.

May: The eider ducks come

By May 1st, all nests must be ready. Then the eider ducks then come ashore to find a home. They like to choose the same place year after year. When the mother duck lies on the nest and incubates, there are many dangers that threaten her. She is an easy prey for mink, otters and birds of prey. The bird watchers go 1-2 rounds every day and take care. If any eggs have been crushed, these are replaced with up to three eggs so that the mother does not abandon the eggs. If the nests have become too hard, they are shaken up. Eiders are human-loving and like nests close to humans.

June: The eider ducks leave the nest

In June, the first eider ducks leave the nest. Then the elder ducks take the younger ducklings with them and go down to the sea. It can be quite a staggering and dangerous trip for the little ducklings. The gulls may plunge down from the sky and devour them all. But luckily most ducklings do well. Then the bird watchers start the work of picking the down from the nests. Eggshells are taken out and the down is hung to dry.

July: ‘Dunsanking’

The last birds have left their nests, and the birdwatchers start collecting and cleaning the down full-time. This is meticulous and time-consuming work. First spines and shells are plucked out, then they are dried, shaken, loomed and finally finely plucked. All this is done by hand. In July, it is the tourist season on Lånan. We accept groups for guided tours, dining and accommodation. Family and friends of the bird watchers also like to holiday here.

August: Cleaning and Looming

The season is in full swing, the air is getting colder and the preparations for winter are starting. Railways and stone hutches are secured to protect against wind and weather. The houses are emptied and closed. We then take the down back to the mainland and continue the cleaning there.

September: Duvet production

All the down duvets from Lånan are produced according to the customer’s wishes. The light feathers from the eider’s breast have a special feature, they have small barbs that keep it locked together. This gives the down duvet a fullness and insulation ability in a class of its own – with a lifespan of several generations. There is no duvet filling that is so light and that envelops you with so much heat.