Vega Archipelago (03:12)
Fishermen and farmers protect wild eider ducks to harvest the down from their nests. After spending the winter in southern Norway, the birds return to the area. Nests are exposed to wind and weather and gulls attempt to steal their eggs. (Credits)
Human Protection (03:22)
Every year, summer residents of Lånan repair wooden nesting houses and gather dry seaweed. Hildegunn Nordum and other families return in March to prepare for the eider duck's arrival. They bury an unhatched eggs to prevent predators.
Traditional Living (03:00)
Øystein Ludvigsen lives year-round on the Vega Archipelago. When a grazing area is finished, he ferries his sheep to another island. The eider duck population has fallen in recent years.
UNESCO World Heritage Site (04:28)
The Vega Archipelago is named after its most populated island. Eider ducks nest on the smaller islands; Lånan is one of the most popular. In the beginning of May, summer residents meet on the jetty to await the ducks' arrival.
Eider Ducks (02:13)
Eider ducks gather in large groups off the island of Lånan and mate; the hens decide where to brood. The males leave to molt and will return in September to migrate south. Females line their nest with down and incubate their eggs for four weeks.
Late Spring in Norway (05:06)
Ludvigsen checks his gill nets for cod, haddock, and halibut; fish stocks are dwindling in the Vega Archipelago. Fishermen meet at the Lofoten Islands. Hartvig Christie studies how kelp forests have changed.
Changes to the Vega Archipelago (05:57)
Ludvigsen describes how Hysvær's economy collapsed due to government intervention. Gisle Ebbesen, a dairy farmer, offers to repair the only remaining farmhouse on Store Emårsøyn and transform it into a museum. Henriette Ebbesen builds nesting boxes.
Summer in the Vega Archipelago (07:38)
Agriculture thrives on the main island. Oystercatchers and common gulls raise their offspring; the sun sets for only 30 minutes a day. Eider duck offspring hatch; guardians check the nests daily and raise ducklings who are separated from their mother.
Lånan Harvest (05:51)
Guardians collect the down from eider nests and remove the egg shells. Residents clean the feathers, work on the down harp, and make pillows and duvets. Ludvigsen cuts hay to feed his sheep during winter.
Store Emårsøyn (05:45)
Henriette receives a grant from UNESCO to create a social diary about the eider ducks. On the island, she has no refrigerator, electricity, or gas connection. She bakes bread using wood she brought from Vega and explores the archipelago.
Sustainable Tourism (04:06)
Residents welcome visitors to Lånan and share the island's history. People are only allowed to visit outside of the eider ducks' nesting season. Younger generations need to understand the importance of preserving traditions and the relationship between ducks and humans.
Credits: Norway: Return to the Duck Islands—Paradise Preserved (00:30)
Credits: Norway: Return to the Duck Islands—Paradise Preserved
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