If you happen to be taking a look at Craig’s List or eBay over the next couple of days and notice a post advertising the sale of 300 stuffed birds, it might not be a bad idea to contact the authorities. In a very strange story coming out of the UK this weekend, the Natural History Museum in London has announced that 299 tropical bird specimens have been stolen, either all at once or slowly over time with help from an insider at the museum. But why would someone steal such a thing? Possibly for a collector of rare birds, or worse, to provide feathers for dressmakers or to make brightly-colored fishing lures. Like most things tragic and criminal, it’s an incredibly interesting story, one we wouldn’t be surprised to see pop up in some 5,000 word New Yorker piece, but here’s to hoping it’s capped by a nice ending where the birds are returned, unscathed, and the thieves are brought to justice. Here’s a bit:
Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie said that 299 birds could fill up to six bin bags and some specimens had tail feathers more than 3ft long. “This is a very unusual crime and we are keen to recover the bird skins, which are part of our national heritage,” he said. “Some of these may be irreplaceable. We are appealing for help from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around the museum at the time of the break-in. Also, we would ask any collectors of such specimens to keep a watchful eye out in case they are offered anything resembling them.”
Also, we have dibs on the screenplay.