The people of the far north lands will use (or did use) the skin of a Common Eider duck, with body feathers attached, as insulation inside their footwear. The dense highly aerated feathers keep the chill away in a part of the world where chill can kill. The Cape Cod Canal is a favorite winter hangout for Common Eider in Massachusetts. Actually they are common in all of our coastal waters in the winter and are now nesting on the rocky islands of Boston Harbor in good numbers.
The young non-migratory males have long been summer residents in Duxbury Bay, Plymouth Harbor and all the bays to the north of Boston as well. The males don’t breed in their first year and are less inclined to migrate north to breeding areas. Even though we have some breeding in the area, most still fly well north of Massachusetts to nest.
The other day I snapped a few images of eider in the canal. They feed on bottom-dwelling mollusks as well as small crabs. Most of the time they just seem to hang out in mixed flocks and drift with the current/tide that flows vigorously through the canal.