Glucocorticoids are key stress hormones which regulate energy allocation during a stressful event. However, it is increasingly recognized that the role of these hormones span far beyond responses to a threat. In this talk, I will present results stemming from a long-term data on common eiders (Somateria mollissima) from southern Finland. This system, with its many attractive features, has been investigated for almost 20 years and helped to better understand the role of glucocorticoids in the wild. Thus, variation in glucocorticoid concentrations was found to be associated with personality differences. While some more recent results place these stress hormones as prime candidates for context-dependent variation in life-history strategies. It is also conceivable, that empathetic reactions to conspecifics recorded in eider females could be at least partly driven by individually repeatable variation in stress hormone concentrations.