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

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)

 

Dead Duck Day 2014, an illustrated report

Dead_Duck_Day-Anjes_Gesink-2014Thursday June 5th 2014 was the date of the 19th Dead Duck Day. After a rainy day, the late afternoon brought a clear sky and at 17.55h when about 40 people gathered right below the Dead Duck Memorial Plaque of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, the sun was shining. Everything went as planned.

First, Kees Moeliker brought back memories of June 5th 1995 and reminded the audience that the duck (the first documented victim of homosexual necrophilia in Anas platyrhynchos) is part of the special exhibit ‘Dode dieren met een verhaal‘ (Dead animals that tell a tale) inside the museum. He then told that, on Dead Duck Day 2012, he failed to report a then recent case of necrophilia from Brazil: ‘Necrophiliac behavior in the “cururu” toad, Rhinella jimi Steuvax, 2002, (Anura, Bufonidae) from Northeastern Brazil’ (Britto et al., 2012 in North-Western Journal of Zoology 8[2]: 365-366).

In honor of ‘The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera‘ Kees Moeliker blew a duck call, and announced that he would search for funding to have a performance of this mini-opera on site, at the 20th Dead Duck Day in 2015.

Dead_Duck_Day-Anjes_Gesink-2014As a recent relevant paper of interest to Dead Duck Day, Moeliker recommended ‘Bird–building collisions in the United States: Estimates of annual mortality and species vulnerability‘ by Scott R. Loss, Tom Will, Sara S. Loss & Peter P. Marra in The Condor 116 (1): 8-23 [2014].  Then he showed and recommended the new book of Menno Schilthuizen Nature’s Nether Regions that devotes almost two full pages to ‘The Duck’ and even to Dead Duck Day.

Linda_Lombardi_devilduckhuntThis year’s special Dead Duck Day Message was send in by Linda Lombardi, (pictured here) author of the book (and blog) Animals Behaving Badly. Kees Moeliker read it aloud:

Human beings have the strange idea that no other animal has sex solely for pleasure. But if our fellow creatures only care about the perpetuation of the species, why do they do it in so many ways that don’t result in babies? From manatees to manakins, all kinds of animals get it on with members of the same sex, and many have figured out that if you’ve got a stick, a rock, or a prehensile tail, who needs a partner?

As I collected material like this for my book Animals Behaving Badly from the comfort of my office, I came to admire the people who observe and report the sordid truth about the sex lives of the animal kingdom. When I read about a black-winged stilt pleasuring itself with a piece of driftwood, twenty or thirty times at a go, every thirty seconds, I thought about the researcher who carefully recorded this data. Were her feet wet? Was she regretting her decision not to go to medical school instead?

But no one inspired me more than the man who had the fortitude to observe for a full seventy-five minutes the spectacle of the homosexual rape of a dead duck – and then, because it was time for dinner, said, Enough is enough, collected his specimen, and went home. Kees Moeliker knows that if we all waited to eat till animals stopped behaving badly, we’d starve to death. And if that’s their wicked plan to drive the human race to extinction, he won’t let them get away with it. [Linda Lombardi, June 5th 2014]

Jacob_van_Gijs_Dead_Duck_Day-Anjes_Gesink-2014Then, for the first time in history of Dead Duck Day, there was an invited speaker: Jacob van Gijs, architect at MVRDV (pictured above). He spoke about the use of glass in modern architecture and showed the surprised audience what might well become a novelty in constructing buildings: a brick completely made of glass.

a_glass_brick_DDD_2014About 20 people, including the invited speaker, joined the traditional Dead Duck Day Dinner at the Tai Wu Restaurant.

Pictures that illustrate this post are by Anjès Gesink.