All is well in Gotham City as Mandarin duck is back on Central Park pond
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.
Central Park’s flashy-coated Mandarin duck is pictured on Saturday before he mysteriously disappeared.