Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant defense. Exposure to pollutants may increase ROS and affect antioxidant levels, and the resulting oxidative stress may negatively affect both reproduction and survival. We measured concentrations of 18 persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and 9 toxic elements hi blood, as well as total antioxidant capacity (TAC), total glutathione (tGSH), and carotenoids in plasma of Baltic and Arctic female common eiders (Somateria mollissima) (N = 54) at the end of their incubation-related fasting. The more polluted Baltic population had higher TAC and tGSH concentrations compared to the Arctic population. Carotenoid level's did not differ between populations. The effect of mixtures of pollutants on the antioxidants was assessed, and the summed molar blood concentrations of 14 POPs were positively related to TAC. There was no significant relationship between the analyzed pollutants and tGSH concentrations. The adaptive improvement of the antioxidant defense system in the Baltic population, may be a consequence of increased oxidative stress. However, both increased oxidative stress and energy allocation toward antioxidant defense may have adverse consequences for Baltic eiders at the incubation stage, when energy resources reach an annual minimum due to incubation-related fasting.