The Real Reason These Ducks Visit Dee Dee Ramone's Grave Daily

Dee Dee Ramone (born Douglas Glenn Colvin, per Britannica), was one of the founding members of the groundbreaking punk rock band the Ramones. For decades, he served as a vocalist, bass player, and songwriter for the group, while also dipping his toes in hip hop for a short-lived solo career. Unfortunately, he also spent those decades battling addiction, having developed a drug habit — particularly a fondness for heroin — as a teenager. Colvin's illness claimed his life on June 5, 2002, and following a heroin overdose, he was laid to rest in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Though he's been gone for 20 years, Colvin's memory lives on, in a manner of speaking, at his gravesite thanks to a group of ducks who visit his tombstone daily. How and why a bevy of our fine feathered friends took a shine to the grave of a punk rock musician is a touching story that involves the Covid-19 pandemic, an animal lover, and social media.

2 local artists feed ducks at Dee Dee Ramone's grave every day

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Rolling Stone, L.A. artists Coyote Shivers and Pleasant Gehman were starting to get a bit saddened by lockdowns and all of the other negativity that came with it. With nowhere to go -– beaches, parks, and other public spaces being closed -– the two decided to get some fresh air at a cemetery and while they were there they would care for the urban wildlife that populated the site.

Among the wildlife was a group of five ducks that had previously been pets of Shivers and Gehman's friend until the friend's landlord said they had to go. According to Consequence, the ducks reminded Shivers of the Ramones. "They're all black and they stick together and stood out like a gang and they'd run up to Dee Dee['s grave] every day," he said.

Specifically, Shivers lured the birds to the grave by feeding them there while playing a song he dubbed "Duckskrieg Bop," which is a recording of The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" only with quacks instead of vocals. And in much the same way that Pavlov's bell summoned his dogs for their food, Shivers' song started attracting ducks to Dee Dee's grave.

Documenting it on social media

Before long, Shivers' song and subsequent march of ducks started getting the attention of other animals, as he told Rolling Stone. "The new mother ducks were bringing their days-old ducklings and teaching them [about the song and food]," he said.

The spectacle also began attracting the attention of another LA-area species: Homo sapiens. "Everyone loves the Ramones Ducks. They bring nothing but smiles. Young kids and old punks really love it," he said.

Shivers and Gehman have taken to documenting the ducks and other animals' daily visits to Dee Dee's grave for food on the Ramones Ducks Instagram account. There, you can see the daily spectacle, as well as enjoy the onlookers enjoying the experience. Meanwhile, Shivers has begun taking donations for food in order to keep the event going. And as for the mess, the artists take great care to clean it up and have even put down astroturf over the grave to protect it.