The only book in the world that tells EVERYTHING about eider down

The Common eider and Homo Sapiens:
fourteen centuries together


This is the world’s first popular science publication dedicated to the entire history of the relation between Man (Homo sapiens) and the Common eider (Somateria molllissima): from eider remains in excavation sites of ancient settlements to the eiders in the works of art; from myths and legends to the most recent scientific data; from the eiders as hunting trophies to them in museum collections. 

In only the first two months after its publication the book has received much positive response from its readers that include biologists, eider farmers, and even the President of Iceland!

To see the full picture open it in a new tab and then click “+”


How to the eiders live and what determines the peculiarities of their behaviour? What makes the eider down the best natural insulator, and is it indeed the best? Why in some countries eider down is an expensive luxury product while in other places the main value of the eider is its meat and eggs while nobody cares about the down? How did the eider farms, where wild birds do not fear Man, formed, and how they function? You will find answers to these and many other questions in the book.

This book’s 500 pages will unfold a fascinating story about the shared history of Man and the eider. The legend is that this story has started in the 7th century northern England, where the eider was St. Cuthbert’s favourite bird. The eiders will lead us to ancient hunters and the Vikings, or to the Icelandic and Norwegian farms, where eider down is gathered. The eiders will introduce us to people who used to kill them without mercy as well as to those who saved and protected them. The eiders will help us understand how science developed, and how the way people relate to nature depends on climatic and socioeconomic conditions. The eiders will be our guides through the world of art and linguistics and serve as an example showing how the most twisted misconceptions arise and live on among humans. The eiders will teach us to observe other cultures and show us how naive may be our attempts to subjugate nature.

The author of the book is Alexandra Goryashko, a Russian biologist, writer and historian who has been working with the eiders for forty years. During her five years of working on the book, Alexandra visited Iceland three times, where she gathered eider down on eider farms. She conducted correspondence with several dozen eider experts from Norway, Iceland, Canada, the USA, Finland, Denmark and Russia. Over 500 literary and archive sources covering the period from the 8th to the 21st century and more than 700 archive and modern photos have been used in the book. Over 50 photographers, twenty artists and sculptors, more than 20 museums and archive collections from a number of countries have provided illustrations.

The Miðhús Farm is proud to have been able to help Alexandra in working on this truly unique book.

The book has come out in July 20200 in Russian and English.

The cost of the Russian version is 1700 roubles. The Engish one is 50 Euro.

You can see more detailed information about the book at the author’s site

The book can be ordered directly from the author

E-mail: or


The heroine and the book’s author