Dead Duck Day 2019: ‘May we continue to welcome and honor the unexpected’

Knowing the 1st Dead Duck Day in 1996 had only two participants (me and the duck), the record number of 75 people attending the 24th Dead Duck Day ceremony, 5 June 2019, was heartwarming. Sixteen of them showed-up wearing the official Dead Duck Day t-shirt – also a milestone.

With me, the audience was very pleased with the ‘Special Dead Duck Day Message’, send in by corvid researcher dr Kaeli Swift, first-author of the 2018 paper ‘Occurrence and variability of tactile interactions between wild American crows and dead conspecifics’. I had the honor to read it aloud:

Greetings to the participants of the 2019 annual Dead Duck Day! It is with great delight and a strong sense of surrealism that I address you here today. I can still remember when I first learned of the original event over a decade ago while I was an undergraduate dreaming of a career in animal behavior. Today, my work is the latest contribution to the growing list of non-human animals whose occasional behaviors with their dead rattle our puritan instincts. Writing the words “putting the crow in necrophilia” is perhaps one of the most delightful and unexpected outcomes of my life and I’m not sure what else to say about it other than “yes kids, sometimes you grow up to be even more strange than you already are and it’s more wonderful than you can imagine.” May we continue to welcome and honor the unexpected. Happy Dead Duck Day!

We also paid tribute to the 60th anniversary of Bob Dickerman’s observation of ‘Davian Behavior Complex in Ground Squirrels‘ (in 1959).

Images (also by Maarten Laupman) of other things that happened, including O.C. Hooymeijer’s performance, are here.

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Join the 24th Dead Duck Day: June 5th, 2019

Wednesday 5 June 2019 is the 24th edition of Dead Duck Day. At exactly 17:55 h we will honor the mallard duck that became known to science as the first (documented) ‘victim’ of homosexual necrophilia in that species, and earned its discoverer (me) the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize. [programma in Nederlands]

Dead Duck Day also commemorates the billions of other birds that die(d) from colliding with glass buildings, and challenges people to find solutions to this global problem.

Dead Duck Day 2018.

Please join the free, short open-air ceremony next to the new wing of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (the Netherlands), right below the new Dead Duck Memorial Plaque — the very spot where that duck (now museum specimen NMR 9989-00232) met his dramatic end.

This is what will happen: [not necessarily in this sequence]

O.C. Hooymeijer.

Dr Kaeli Swift (Jacob Gaposchkin)

Dickerman’s specimen, from 1959.

The traditional six-course (dead) duck dinner at the famous Tai Wu Restaurant is also open to the public (at your own expense). Reserve your seat by e-mailing to: info [at] hetnatuurhistorisch.nl

More on (the history of) Dead Duck Day: here. And for Dutch readers: here.

Join the 22nd Dead Duck Day, on June 5th 2017

DDD20 logo DEF DT (1)Monday June 5th, 2017 is the 22nd edition of Dead Duck Day. At exactly 17:55 h we will honor the mallard duck that became known to science as the first (documented) ‘victim’ of homosexual necrophilia in that species, and earned its discoverer (me) the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize.

Dead Duck Day also commemorates the billions of other birds that die(d) from colliding with glass buildings, and challenges people to find solutions to this global problem.

Please join the free, short open-air ceremony next to the new wing of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (the Netherlands), right below the new Dead Duck Memorial Plaque — the very spot where that duck (now museum specimen NMR 9989-00232) met his dramatic end.

This is what will happen: [not necessarily in this sequence]

  • The traditional Ten Seconds of Silence.
  • News about prevention of bird-glass collisions.
  • Review of this year’s (animal) necrophilia news: the world’s second officially homosexual necrophiliac duck will make his first posthumous public appearance. [Some people have been waiting 22 years for this moment]
  • omslag Een meerkoet in mijn oog 1aug.inddThe special ‘Dead Duck Day Message’, this year delivered in person by Henk Wolf who was hit in the eye by an Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) and who wrote the book ‘Een meerkoet in mijn oog‘ [A coot in my eye] about the dramatic consequences.
  • Celebration of the re-issue of the book ‘De eendenman’ [The duck guy] in the tiny but handy Dwarsligger® format.
  • Performance by the Moldavian poet Dumitru Crudu, poet-in-residence of the 48th Poetry International Festival Rotterdam.
  • Dead Duck Day Fashion Show: some fine specimens of the first batch of t-shirts, designed by Mark Prinsen, will be displayed (and are for sale).
  • A six-course duck dinner, after the ceremony.

The traditional six-course (dead) duck dinner at the famous Tai Wu Restaurant is also open to the public (at your own expense). Reserve your seat by e-mailing to: info [at] hetnatuurhistorisch.nl

More on (the history of) Dead Duck Day: here. And for our Dutch readers: here.

t-shirt_show_DeadDuckDay_2016

Dead Duck Day 2016: introduction of the Dead Duck Day Fashion Line. (photo Maarten Laupman)

verrassings+konijn_DDD_2016

Dead Duck Day 2016 also featured a dead rabbit. (photo Maarten Laupman)

DDD-2016 leftovers

The Duck and left overs of the Dead Duck Dinner in 2016. (photo Maarten Laupman)

Join the 21st Dead Duck Day, on June 5th

DDD20 logo DEF DT (1)Sunday June 5th, 2016 is the 21th edition of Dead Duck Day. At exactly 17:55 h we will honor the mallard duck that became known to science as the first (documented) ‘victim’ of homosexual necrophilia in that species, and earned its discoverer (me) the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize.

Dead Duck Day also commemorates the billions of other birds that die(d) from colliding with glass buildings, and challenges people to find solutions to this global problem.

Please join the free, short open-air ceremony next to the new wing of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (the Netherlands), right below the new Dead Duck Memorial Plaque— the very spot where that duck (now museum specimen NMR 9989-00232) met his dramatic end.

This is what will happen:

CuratorMuseumOfSex_edited-1

Sarah Forbes

  • The traditional Ten Seconds of Silence.
  • Review of this year’s necrophilia news: two new clear cases in birds became known to science, and the first case in a Dutch mammal (!) will be revealed.
  • The reading of the special ‘Dead Duck Day Message’. This years message is send in by Sarah Forbes, former curator of the Museum of Sex (MoS) in New York and author of the book ‘Sex in the Museum’.
  • The announcement of the second performance of ‘The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera’ in London, on sacred grounds, June 24th, 2016.
  • The first-ever Dead Duck Day Fashion Show. The first batch of t-shirts, designed by Mark Prinsen, will be for sale.
  • A six-course duck dinner, after the ceremony.

The traditional six-course (dead) duck dinner at the famous Tai Wu Restaurant is also open to the public (at your own expense). Reserve you seat by e-mailing to: info [at] hetnatuurhistorisch.nl

More on (the history of) Dead Duck Day: here. And for our Dutch readers: here.

crowd_Dead-Duck-Day-3208-Anjes_Gesink-2015

The 20th Dead Duck Day: a report

crowd_Dead-Duck-Day-3208-Anjes_Gesink-2015On June 5th, 2015, the 20th Dead Duck Day attracted a crowd of about 50 people. They gathered at the spot where it all began, right below the all glass facade of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam. At exactly 17:55h Kees Moeliker, in company of the stuffed duck (NMR 9989-00232), welcomed everybody. As all people more or less understood Dutch, he proceeded in that language. After a minute of silence on behalf of the duck and the btribute-cropped_Dead-Duck-Day-3236-Anjes_Gesink-2015_edited-1illions of other birds that have died in collision with glas building, Kees Moeliker payed a tribute to the recently deceased Robert W. Dickerman, the
ornithologist who first described (homosexual) necrophilia in a ground squirrel (in 1960) and coined the term ‘Davian Behavior’ for that – distinguishing it from necrophiliac behavior in humans. Bob Dickerman should be remembered as the man who gave necrophilia a good name.

Menno_Schilthuizen_Dead-Duck-Day-3214-Anjes_Gesink-2015

Professor Menno Schilthuizen.

Then professor Menno Schilthuizen read the pages from is recent book ‘Nature’s Nether Regions‘ that are devoted to ‘the first case of homosexual necrophilia in de mallard’ – the reason of this annual gathering. He also presented his insights in the functional anatomy of duck genitals. Then there was an equally joyful announcement: the performance of ‘The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera’ at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival in Londen, 8/9 August 2015.

A thunderstorm, the first ever experienced in 20 years of Dead Duck Day, forced the crowd to take shelter in the Natural History Museum where ceremony proceeded smoothly, with the presentation of the new Dead Duck Day logo and the accompanying fashion line, designed by Mark Prinsen.

fashion_line_Dead-Duck-Day-3274-Anjes_Gesink-2015

Mark Prinsen (left) shows the DDD fashion line.

This years necrophilia news originated from Azerbaijan. It concerns a free-ranging Central Asian Tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii) that tried to mate with the smelly empty shell of a male congener. Stephen Butler witnessed this in his back yard and donated the shell to the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, where it bears catalogue number NMR 9988-00702. The carapax was shown to the audience, and so was the old shirt in which it was wrapped when the specimen reached the museum.

The special Dead Duck Day Message was written and send in by Anil Aggrawal, professor of forensic medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, and foremost expert on human necrophilia. It was read aloud, by Kees Moeliker:

Anil_Aggrawal_2015Necrophilia is a behaviour which reveals its unlimited curiosities almost regularly. Kees discovered a curiosity 20 years back. About a decade later as we were studying necrophiles from around the world, we discovered that it could be classified in 10 different types, starting from most innocuous “Role players” to the most dangerous “Exclusive necrophiles”. Gradually as we studied other paraphilias, it dawned upon us, that the very same classification could be extended to zoophiles too. Both studies were published in reputed journals. Were we on to something big? Do all paraphilic behaviors show same 10 gradations? Does a so-called “law of paraphilic equivalence” exist, which might state something to the effect that “all paraphilias are similar to one another, in as far as all of them exist on a continuum of increasing severity ranging from the most innocuous to the most dangerous?” Curiously as we studied more and more paraphilias with this objective in mind, we discovered that the law indeed was true. Most recently we have proved this in relation to even non-contact paraphilias, eg exhibitionism. For quite some time now, we had been thinking to bring together on one platform the necro-academics [my own term for scientists exploring this behavior] from around the world and publish their findings together in one book. Three academicians from around the world, including me got together a year back and were able to do exactly that. We got about 40 necro-academics from around the world and asked them to contribute their own experiences in the field of necrophilia in an anthology called ‘Understanding Necrophilia: A Global Multidisciplinary Approach’. Kees, to our honor, agreed and wrote an excellent chapter on necrophilia in the animal kingdom. I hope one day he discovers the 10 different kinds of necrophilia in the animal kingdom too, just as we have discovered it in humans. Necrophilia, thus, not only is a curious behavior, it is leading us on to new vistas in the study of paraphilic behavior.

The 20th Dead Duck Day ended with the traditional Dead Duck Day Dinner at the famous Tai Wu Restaurant, where about 35 people enjoyed each others company and good food. [all pictures, courtesy of Anjes Geesinkfood_Dead-Duck-Day-3314-Anjes_Gesink-2015

dinner_Dead-Duck-Day-3359-Anjes_Gesink-2015

Join the 20th Dead Duck Day: June 5th

DDD20 logo DEF DT (1)Friday June 5th, 2015 is the 20th edition of Dead Duck Day. At exactly 17:55 h we will honor the mallard duck that became known to science as the first (documented) ‘victim’ of homosexual necrophilia in that species, and earned its discoverer (me) the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize.

Dead Duck Day also commemorates the billions of other birds that die(d) from colliding with glass buildings, and challenges people to find solutions to this global problem.

Please join the free, short open-air ceremony next to the new wing of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (the Netherlands), right below the new Dead Duck Memorial Plaque— the very spot where that duck (now museum specimen NMR 9989-00232) met his dramatic end.

This is what will happen:

The traditional six-course (dead) duck dinner at the famous Tai Wu Restaurant is also open to the public (at your own expense). Reserve you seat by e-mailing to: info [at] hetnatuurhistorisch.nl

Dead_Duck_Day-Anjes_Gesink-2014

More on the history of Dead Duck Day on the official Dead Duck Day website: www.deadduckday.com. Informatie in het Nederlands: hier.

Here is our new Dead Duck Day logo

The new Dead Duck Day logo

The new Dead Duck Day logo. (Mark Prinsen, 2015)

Today, exactly one month to go before the 20th Dead Duck Day, we proudly present our new logo. Still based on the classic Figure 2a of the Ig Nobel winning paper ‘The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae)‘, graphic designer Mark Prinsen has given the logo a new and more powerful look. He used the same sign-language he developed for the Natural History Museum Rotterdam.

This year’s Dead Duck Day is the 20th. As usual, the short open air ceremony will be at June 5th, starting at exactly at 17:55h just outside the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, right below the Dead Duck Day Memorial Plaque.

It is on a Friday. Save the date: June 5th. We will keep you posted, and – please – do follow us on twitter: @Dead_Duck_Day

Dead_Duck_Day_Memorial_2015

The north wing of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, with the Dead Duck Day Memorial Plaque, just left of the museum logo. (Photo Garry Bakker)