A mysterious Mandarin Duck has shown up in the southeast corner of Central Park. While bird watchers were delighted to see such a rare sight, they were also concerned as to how the bird got there in the first place. The concrete jungle of Manhattan is not the natural habitat of these beautiful birds.
The Central Park Pond's newly-arrived male Mandarin Duck (we still do not know how it got here) unseated the Wood Duck as prettiest duck in the park. Gus Keri brings us close-up video pic.twitter.com/cauqVt4kSK— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) October 11, 2018
Zoos around the park have reported no escapes, so this duck must have come from a private collector. It’s possible it escaped from its previous home or its previous owner decided not to take care of it anymore and released it into the park. This type of bird is illegal to own in New York City, so if the previous owner did wish to take it back, it would be difficult to do so without repercussions. It’s a good thing that this duck ended up in Central Park instead of dead on the road, but other illegally traded exotic pets are not as lucky.
The Mandarin Duck is native to China and Japan, so most residents of New York City have never seen one in real life. Its beautiful purple and green Mohawk and vibrant colors make it a standout bird in the park. After its first appearance, the duck has attracted a huge crowd of fans admiring it from afar and taking lots of photos. The duck is currently residing in the ponds of the park, and it seems to be getting along well with the other ducks who live there.
While it’s wonderful to see such a beautiful species up close, it is important to note that this duck does not belong in Central Park. Even if experts say the bird will live fine in the ponds, introducing new species into another environment can be detrimental to the ecosystem already established there. This is the issue with releasing exotic pets into the wild without the guidance of an animal expert. Hopefully, this beautiful bird will only bring positive impacts to Central Park.
The duck is happily swimming among its duck friends, and it seems not to mind the paparazzi constantly around. Park officials are watching over it just in case something goes wrong, so the duck and its fans can rest easy knowing it is finally safe. If you see a colorful duck waddling around Central Park, don’t forget to say hi!