All is well in Gotham City as Man­darin duck is back on Cen­tral Park pond

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - Kong Wen­zheng in New York con­tributed to this story. Con­tact the writer at williamhen­nelly@ chi­nadai­lyusa.com

He’s the most fa­mous duck in New York since Disco Duck rasped to the trendy mu­sic of the 1970s in Sat­ur­day Night Fever.

That’s why bird-watch­ers pan­icked last week­end when the spec­tac­u­lar Man­darin duck that had been glid­ing on the Cen­tral Park Pond near 59th Street since Oct 10 went on hia­tus.

“Where is our MAN­DARIN DUCK? He was not re­ported yes­ter­day, and we checked the likely spots late day. If you see him, let us know! He likely still is in Cen­tral Park, but he has been known to fly to the Hud­son River 79th-Street Boat Basin,” tweeted Man­hat­tan Bird Alert.

This is one of those low-hang­ing sto­ries that most me­dia out­lets have to quack about, and China Daily is no ex­cep­tion. We are joined by USA To­day, The New York Times, The Guardian, peo­ple.com, CBS News, Fox News, WABC-TV, the BBC, Busi­ness In­sider, Food and Wine, the Van­cou­ver Sun and many more.

One head­line on the web won­dered if there was “fowl play”.

“Peo­ple tried see­ing it dur­ing the New York City Marathon,” David Bar­rett, 54, man­ager of Man­hat­tan Bird Alert, told the New York Post on Thurs­day.

Al­though the duck didn’t float around for last Sun­day’s marathon, which fin­ishes in Cen­tral Park, thou­sands of spec­ta­tors had milled about hop­ing for self­ies with the Big Ap­ple’s lat­est star.

“We had stand­ing-room-only crowds around the Cen­tral Park Pond on Sat­ur­day,” Bar­rett told the Post.

To the re­lief of 8.5 mil­lion New York­ers, the mag­nif­i­cent duck was back in the New York groove at 7 am on Thurs­day. He showed up at a dif­fer­ent park lo­cale: Tur­tle Pond.

“I am de­lighted to learn that our Man­darin duck has re­turned,” Bar­rett told the Post. “He has brought a lot of joy to New York­ers in his brief time here, and it’s great to have him back!”

“Please re­mem­ber to en­joy our new friend from a dis­tance and do not feed him,” the city Parks Depart­ment said. “Al­most all ducks mi­grate sea­son­ally. While we’re happy to have had him visit our parks, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that at some point he may leave New York for warmer tem­per­a­tures.”

Bar­rett spec­u­lated why the duck showed up in the city, won­der­ing if he could be an aban­doned pet. The duck also may have got­ten loose from a nearby house, with New Jersey a pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion be­cause the state al­lows such birds to be kept as pets, while New York does not, Bar­rett told China Daily.

Man­darin ducks, which are com­mon in China, Ja­pan and parts of Rus­sia, do not breed with other species. In China, they sym­bol­ize love and healthy re­la­tion­ships.

No lady duck has been spot­ted on his wing, un­less he’s meet­ing her on the sly. He is, af­ter all, “New York’s most el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lor”, ac­cord­ing to New York mag­a­zine.

This is one classy duck. With all his bril­liant colors, he could be mis­taken for a wood de­coy at a fancy depart­ment store. He sits ma­jes­ti­cally on the pond but hasn’t yet got­ten his feathers dirty in the sub­way, un­like the city’s re­cent ro­dent celebrity — Pizza Rat — which made its bones for hero­ically at­tempt­ing to de­scend a sub­way stair­case drag­ging a tram­pled slice of cold pizza.

Maybe the Cen­tral Park Zoo could in­vite Man­darin duck to take up res­i­dency along with its other ex­otic birds. He al­ready has shown he can pack the house off Broad­way.

KONG WEN­ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

Cen­tral Park’s flashy-coated Man­darin duck is pic­tured on Sat­ur­day be­fore he mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­peared.

Wil­liam Hen­nelly

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