A heads-up, if you happen to be near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands — ornithologist Kees Moeliker (watch his TED Talk) and friends will be celebrating the annual Dead Duck Day on June 5, at 17:55, on the lawn outside the glass-enclosed wing of Rotterdam’s Natural History Museum. Attendance is free. At this year’s event, Moeliker will unveil a plaque, to be placed near the crack in the window that, as the plaque explains:
marks the spot where, on June 5th 1995 at 17:55h, a mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) died after colliding with the building. Immediately after falling to the ground, the dead duck was mounted by a (live) duck — also of the male sex. The copulation took 75 minutes, and became known in the scientific community as ‘the first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard’. The victim is on display in the museum.
Read about last year’s Dead Duck Day, which featured a special message sent by ornithologist and bird-watcher Tim Birkhead. Moeliker tells us this year’s message comes from an equally distinguished source. Look for an excerpt of that message on the TED Blog on the big day.