Sunday 12 July 2020

Defrosted kingfisher rejoins museum collection of dead animals

Photo: Robin Utrecht via HH

A kingfisher which had been frozen in ice and exhibited – ice and all – at the natural history museum in Rotterdam has been melted down and is now back on show.

The bird, which is called an ‘IJsvogel’ or ice bird in Dutch, became trapped in a frozen pond where it was photographed by a 13 year-old boy in 2018. The ice block in which it was sitting then became part of the museum’s collection of animals which have come to an unusual end.

Curator Bram Langeveld said considerable time and effort went into polishing the ice and keeping it at the right temperature but that it was deteriorating.

‘It’s a shame but we did see it coming, curator Bram Langeveld said. ‘The ice was becoming opaque and the bird was no longer visible.’

‘Defrosting the bird was quite exciting because we didn’t know state it was in. We thought we might end up with a little bare chicken leg of a thing and a handful of blue feathers but it went very well.’

The kingfisher, which has been sealed in an airtight plastic bag, has now been reunited with the other animals in the exhibition ‘Animals with a story’, which includes a hedgehog which got caught in a McFlurry lid, a necrophiliac duck and a sparrow that destroyed an attempt to break a domino record.

The return of the kingfisher has meant that the last of the crab lice in the collection  had to make way for for lack of space. ‘We thought long and hard about it but it had to be done,’ Langeveld said.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.