The legs of a blue heron roasted over an open fire by a homeless man in The Hague are being added to a Dutch museum collection of animals which have had a strange death.
The man, a Russian national, was arrested at the weekend after he was spotted in woods next to a smouldering fire. The legs of a blue heron were all that was left of the bird.
The man has denied killing the bird, which is a protected species, saying it was already dead. He was arrested for not carrying ID and for making a fire in a place where fires are banned.
On its website the Natural History museum writes that police handed the remains of the heron to curator Bram Langeveld who had ‘travelled to The Hague post haste’ to secure the bird for the collection.
He confirmed that the legs were perfectly conserved by the smoke. Museum director Kees Mouliker commented that the smell of the legs ‘was a good as that of chicken legs at a barbecue.’
According to Rob Hagenow of the Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal, heron was a regular item on the menu until the 1970s.
The legs of the blue heron will be exhibited next to other animals who came to an unfortunate and unusual end, such as the fish that got stuck (in someone’s gullet) and the skeleton of a cat. The cat itself was made into a handbag by its owner, Dutch artist Tinkebell.