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In late fall, Common Eiders appear as far South as the coast of New Jersey. Yesterday several dozens of them were swimming along the jetty at Barnegat Lighthouse. They are the largest ducks, weighing from 2.5 to almost 7 lbs (1.1 to 3 kg).

Barnegat Lighthouse as seen from jetty.

It is not breeding season yet, so the males are not showing their distinctive and handsome colors.

Male Common Eider.

Female Common Eider.

Female Common Eider and two males.

There was some kind of hunting going on and I often heard sounds of gunfire coming from the other side of the bay. An immature Common Eider was sitting on a rock right next to the jetty. It would not move even as I came very close to it. A fellow photographer said that it may have been wounded by a shotgun pellet, could not move, and would probably die eventually.

Immature Common Eider, wounded perhaps.

In the 19th century, hunting almost wiped out this species in the Atlantic. However, their population has rebounded and Common Eiders are not on the list of endangered species.

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