Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18: Eiders

In the middle of the night I half-awoke and was vaguely aware of my cat's soft snoring at the foot of the bed. It occurred to me that the sound was kind of like the cooing noises I've heard from flocks of common eiders. I let myself imagine the eider hens gathered together in the waters around their nesting islands with all their babies among them. Eiders tend their young communally, with many females (even those who didn't have a nest that year) caring for the ducklings in groups called creches. Having many eyes watching over the flock is a big benefit for a species that's heavily preyed upon by gulls, eagles, seals, and other pelagic predators.

The word "creche" brings to mind cradles and Nativity scenes--and I think the image of these fluffy baby ducks swaying in the waves, watched over by their many mothers, was what lulled me back to sleep at last.

Cat's midnight snoring
reminds me of eider ducks'
soft calls in the creche. 

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