Alexandra Goryashko

Supporting Alexandra Goryashko's book project

A Wild Bird and a Cultured Man. The Common Eider and Homo sapiens: Fourteen Centuries Together.

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The Common Eider and Homo sapiens

What it's about:

This is the world’s first popular science publication dedicated to the world-wide history of the relation of Man (Homo sapiens) and the Common eider (Somateria mollissima): from the eiders in the excavations of ancient human settlements to the eiders in art; from myths and legends to the latest scientific research; from the eiders as hunting trophies to them in the museum collections.

How do the eiders live and what explains the peculiarities of their behavior? What makes the eider down the best natural insulator and is it indeed so? Why the eider down is an expensive luxury item in some countries while in other places the main value is placed on the eider meat and eggs while no one needs the down? How did the eider farms, where wild birds do not fear Man, arise and function? You will find answers to these and many other questions in the book. Special emphasis is on the relation to the eider in Russia, including stories of the work aiming to set up eider farms in the USSR, and unique scientific research that is practically unknown to the world community. The book also talks of people related to the protection and the study of the eiders: from Saint Cuthbert, who lives in the 7th century to present-day researchers. Stories of the dramatic lives of Soviet eider researchers and the methods of setting up eider farms practiced here are published for the first time.

Over 500 literary and archive sources, more than 700 archive and modern photos were used in the preparation of this book, and consultations of about 200 experts from 15 countries were obtained. Many of the documents and photographs are published for the first time.

The book, which will be published in Russian and English language, will be of interest to all who, one way or another, is connected to the eider: to biologists and nature protection experts, farmers and hunters, sellers and buyers of eider down items, and to everyone with an interest in birds and in the history of the relationship between Man and the nature.

You will find a more detailed description of the book, the table of contents, and a brief summary of each chapter at her website.

The publication of the book is partly financed by Russian nature protection organisations and private subscribers.The author invites international biological and nature protection organisations to participate in the financing of this publication.

The author Alexandra Goryashko, is a writer and a historian of science. She has been associated with the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve that specialises in the protection and study of the eider for over 35 years. She has published over 170 articles, about 40 of which are about the eider.

Donation Account:

M.M.War­burg & Co.

Lighthouse Foun­da­ti­on

IBAN DE65 2012 0100 1004  4798 88


Eider pair (Somateria mollissima)
Eider pair - Somateria mollissima. (Photo: Andreas Trepte,

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