Flogging a dead duck (20)
|The all glass façade of the extension of the Natuurmuseum in Rotterdam, situated in an urban park, acts - under certain light conditions - as a true mirror. Numerous birds die in collision with the building. Ironic don’t you think, being a nature museum taking lives of animals? |
Such was the case on 5 June 1995. The author went downstairs immediately to see if the window was damaged, and saw a drake mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) lying motionless on its belly in the sand. The unfortunate duck apparently had hit the building in full flight at a height of about three meters from the ground. Next to the obviously dead duck, another male mallard (in full adult plumage without any visible traces of moult) was present. He forcibly picked into the back, the base of the bill and mostly into the back of the head of the dead mallard for about two minutes, then mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force, almost continuously picking the side of the head. Rather startled, the author watched this scene from close quarters behind the window during which time (75 minutes!) he made some photographs and the mallard almost continuously copulated his dead congener. He dismounted only twice, stayed near the dead duck and picked the neck and the side of the head before mounting again. The first break lasted three minutes and the second break lasted less than a minute. The author disturbed this cruel scene. The necrophilic mallard only reluctantly left his 'mate' when the author had approached him to about five meters, he did not fly away but simply walked off a few meters, weakly uttering series of two-note 'raeb-raeb' calls. The author secured the dead duck and left the museum. The mallard was still present at the site, calling 'raeb-raeb' and apparently looking for his victim (who, by then, was in the freezer).
C.W. Moeliker, Natuurmuseum Rotterdam
Ironic if your think, that the most ordinary duck does extra ordinary things?