The Return of the Mandarin Duck

  Last modified on January 21st, 2020

The initial sighting of the Mandarin duck in Central Park took place on October 10th, according to Manhattan Bird Alert on Twitter. It was spotted by the pond at 59th and Fifth Ave.

No one expected to see a Mandarin duck in Central Park, as the species is native to China and Japan, not the US. And people aren’t allowed to have ducks as pets here … so folks are pretty unclear about how it arrived.


But according to an article by the NY Times, David Barrett, the creator of the Manhattan Bird Alert Twitter account, gives three possible explanations. First, he could have escaped from a local zoo (even though it was stated that no zoo houses this species). Second, he could have come from a neighboring state. Or third, some illegal duck owner could have deserted him.

After the initial sighting on October 10th, the duck disappeared. But it was spotted again on October 25th at the 79th Street Boat Basin (even though they’ve closed for the season) …

In the last week, the Mandarin duck has garnered quite a local following with one press release after another. As Barrett says it’s one of the most beautiful ducks in the world, this should be of no surprise.

On Sunday, he was seen at the pond by 59th and Fifth Avenue, near the Hallet Nature Sanctuary, once again. Which was followed by swarms of human duck tourists.

We know it was the same duck because of the red band on his leg.

The only question I have at this point is this: will the Mandarin duck become friends with the Egg Roll Squirrel?

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