Meet the Bird Watchers

Hildegunn Nordum

Hildegunn Nordum, Bird Watcher and General Manager of Utværet Lånan.

Hildegunn was born and raised on Lånan and lived here on the island until she was 16 years old. When she is not working as a bird watcher, she is the general manager of Utværet Lånan, and works with sales and marketing of the eider down products and the tourism experiences they can offer. Hildegunn is Mattis’ sister, and they share the responsibility for “their” eider birds. Hildegunn lives at Skjærhallen at other times of the year, but every spring when Easter is over, she feels the attraction towards Lånan. The car is packed and she and Erik (her husband) drive north – To Lånan and to the eider ducks.

Erna Øvergård, Bird Watcher

Erna grew up in the Gammelstua house on Lånan, and now owns it. It is the oldest house on the island, and is referred to as “the house with the big heart”. Mother Kristine (about whom a separate book has been written) lived here, and she was Erna’s grandmother. When Erna is not at Lånan, she lives in Oslo. Under Erna’s porch in Gammelstua there are some beautiful eider ducks that are only referred to as the “porch ladies’, and you can safely say these birds are not shy!

Erna Øvergård

Torbjørn Johansen

Torbjørn Johansen, Bird Watcher

Torbjørn currently lives in Tjøtta, and is married to Evelyn who is also a bird watcher. During the war, the Lånan people were evacuated to England. The Germans had heard that they were helping the Allies with arms transport. The elderly remained on Lånan to look after the animals. Torbjørn was 7 years old and was visiting his grandmother on another island when his parents and brother were evacuated from Lånan together with the others. He remembers well the day the Germans went ashore on Lånan.

Mathias Mathisen, Bird Watcher

We call him Mattis, and we can safely say that he knows a LOT about eider ducks, and the other birds we have here on Lånan. Mattis has full control of all the nests, the number of eggs, when the mother ducks arrive and when they leave. Every single day of the breeding season he goes round once or twice a day and watches the birds. Mattis has been actively involved in fishing. If you are going to go ocean fishing, just go to sea with Mattis, he knows where the fish go. Mattis now lives at Vega for the rest of the year.

Mathias Mathisen

Margit Lande, Bird Watcher

Margit now lives in Brønnøysund, where she has worked in a bookstore for many years. Margit has participated in several of Arne Nævra’s nature programs. Margit’s house is constantly surrounded by eider ducks around her house on Lånan. The people who live here are very used to tourists, and they do not let themselves be disturbed by those eager tourists snapping pictures of them.

The birdwatchers at Lånan in their beautiful Nordland jackets