How A Dead Duck Changed My Life by Kees Moeliker (Full Transcript)

This is a moose. It’s a moose trying to copulate with a bronze statue of a bison. This is in Montana, 2008. This is a frog that tries to copulate with a goldfish. This is the Netherlands, 2011. These are cane toads in Australia. This is roadkill. Please note that this is necrophilia. It’s remarkable: the position. The missionary position is very rare in the animal kingdom. These are pigeons in Rotterdam. Barn swallows in Hong Kong, 2004. This is a turkey in Wisconsin on the premises of the Ethan Allen juvenile correctional institution. It took all day, and the prisoners had a great time.

So what does this mean? I mean, the question I ask myself, why does this happen in nature? Well, what I concluded from reviewing all these cases is that it is important that this happens only when death is instant and in a dramatic way and in the right position for copulation. At least, I thought it was till I got these slides. And here you see a dead duck. It’s been there for three days, and it’s laying on its back. So there goes my theory of necrophilia.

Another example of the impact of glass buildings on the life of birds. This is Mad Max, a blackbird who lives in Rotterdam. The only thing this bird did was fly against this window from 2004 to 2008, day in and day out. Here he goes, and here’s a short video.

[Video Clip]

So what this bird does is fighting his own image. He sees an intruder in his territory, and it’s coming all the time and he’s there, so there is no end to it. And I thought, in the beginning — I studied this bird for a couple of years — that, well, shouldn’t the brain of this bird be damaged? It’s not. I show you here some slides, some frames from the video, and at the last moment before he hits the glass, he puts his feet in front, and then he bangs against the glass.

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So I’ll conclude to invite you all to Dead Duck Day. That’s on June 5 every year. At five minutes to six in the afternoon, we come together at the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, the duck comes out of the museum, and we try to discuss new ways to prevent birds from colliding with windows. And as you know, or as you may not know, this is one of the major causes of death for birds in the world. In the U.S. alone, a billion birds die in collision with glass buildings. And when it’s over, we go to a Chinese restaurant and we have a six-course duck dinner.

So I hope to see you next year in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for Dead Duck Day. Thank you.

Oh, sorry. May I have my duck back, please?

Thank you.

 

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