Heron in a Dutch perfume shop

Reader Peter posted a link earlier today to this video, which shows a gray heron (Ardea cinerea) that somehow wandered into a perfume shop in the Netherlands. After perusing the wares, and making a raucous squawk, he flies around a bit and manages to exit the shop. I’m glad he didn’t run into anything!

Here’s a translation from Google Translate, which didn’t do a bad job:

A perfumery in the center of Gouda got a special customer in the shop last Wednesday: a heron walked inside. The animal walked quietly into the store while the customers and staff looked surprised.

The traveler, after a short walk, spread his wings to come out again. ‘For a moment I thought it would be chaos, but it was not so bad,’ says a shop assistant. After having flopped back and forth a few times, the big bird managed to fly out again without loot.

Maybe it was looking for cheese and not perfume.


  1. mordacious1
    Posted October 20, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I know my girlfriend is in here, I can smell her perfume.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      I can smell her perfume.
      “Ha ha, but serious.” How a particular molecule maps onto the olfactory responses of another species is hard to work out from first principles. Hell, it’s probably pretty hard within a species (I just take the perfume orders from the wife when I’m flying internationally ; I don’t even ask for a sniff at the goods). Contrary to the obvious expectations, olfactory responses are more often a response to the shape and arrangement of functional groups on the molecule, rather than responses to the chemistry of the molecule. Which functional groups on a particular molecule are detected and what they actually mean to the organism’s brain isn’t necessarily a conserved trait.
      At least, that’s the story I pick up from the science – Prof Matthew specialises in maggot smell-ology and probably has a different take on things.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted October 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    We know that game wardens use Calvin Klein’s Obsession to lure tigers – it works better than tiger piss [or whatever it is tigers use to mark territory & attract mates].

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      British squaddies on patrol or training in the Highlands and Ulster rapidly learn to ditch the DEET and ‘Kil-o-zap’ type insect deterrents for Avon’s “Skin-So-Soft” … I’m not even sure how the stuff is classified – an unguent, maybe? But whatever AvonInc market it as, it’s a stock line in the quartermaster’s stores, as “midge repellent”.

  3. Posted October 20, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I had a very close encounter with a blue heron, and I can tell you it is a good thing that the bird did not evacuate its bowels in the perfume shoppe.
    All the perfume in the world would not cover up that smell.

  4. alexander
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    “Maybe it was looking for cheese and not perfume.”

    The shop might have had a perfume that smells of frogs (some perfumes smell really weird!). When I lived in Amsterdam we had a little pond in the garden, inhabited by frogs. Unfortunately they weren’t lucky, early spring herons dived down to help themselves.

  5. Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Peculiar cultural difference between British and Dutch herons: the former are shy and fly off if they find you too close for comfort and the latter (at least in lovely Amsterdam which I visited for the first time last week) are very bold and are much more indifferent to how close you approach them.

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