The COVID era continues to take its toll on Dead Duck Day, the international celebration of an incident that took its toll on a duck in Rotterdam and yet gave inspiration to millions of people to wonder at the mysteries that abound in nature.
In a one-year break with tradition, Dead Duck Day 2022 will be a day for personal meditation on the dangers and delights of birds, glass windows, and the curious adventure of daily life. We suggest you mount your own personal DDD celebration in some delightful location where windows, ducks, and humans often interact with each other.
Ig Nobel Duck
The mallard duck that is a vital part of Dead Duck Day became known to science as the first (documented) ‘victim’ of homosexual necrophilia in that species, and earned its discoverer, Kees Moeliker, the 2003 Ig Nobel Biology Prize.
The incident — involving two ducks and a glass-clad museum — happened on June 5, 1995. June 5 thus became the date of the annual celebration at the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, and at simultaneous informal DDD gathering sites around the world.
It is hoped and intended that Kees Moeliker, the scientist who witnessed and documented the incident, and who many years later became director of the museum, will next year again lead a joy-filled assembly of Rotterdam residents and visitors, as they together resume the full, on-site Dead Duck Day celebration. (By tradition, the celebration comprises a re-enactment of the incident, a brief discussion, and then a stroll to a nearby Chinese restaurant for a six-course duck dinner.)
How It All Began
If you are one of the few people who is not already conversant with the history of Dead Duck Day, please relax and enjoy this recording of Kees Moeliker’s TED Talk about it:
Tributes from Yesteryear
Here’s a 2018 tribute to Dead Duck Day, by the folks at Today I Found Out:
A 2015 Tribute to Dead Duck Day, by Buzzfeed.
A 2013 tribute to Dead Duck Day, by The Mary Sue.
And of course video of a performance, in 2015 in London, of the opera inspired by Dead Duck Day: