Mystery duck captivates New Yorkers

A Mandarin duck is causing a stir with sightseers in New York's Central Park.

Posted: Nov 3, 2018 12:42 PM
Updated: Nov 3, 2018 12:53 PM

New York's latest celebrity is an odd duck.

Autumn is an occasion for rare splashes of color in the Big Apple, where the approaching winter is defined by dark wool coats and snow that quickly turns gray.

But this year, the turning leaves in Manhattan's Central Park have been overshadowed by a rare bird -- a brightly colored Mandarin duck, seen swimming among the park's more pedestrian bird population.

Found predominantly in east Asia and some parts of Europe, the bird's appearance in an American metropolis is a mystery.

"The zoos say it's not theirs," said Dan Tainow, an urban park ranger with the New York City Parks Department. "It's most likely a pet."

Tainow said the bird could be from as far afield as New Jersey or Long Island.

"It flies fine; it eats," Tainow added. "The mallards don't even seem to mind it. Our orders are to leave it alone as long as it can feed and fly."

Even from a distance, the Mandarin duck's appearance is striking, with blocks of deep green and blue feathers.

The wandering waterfowl was spotted last month swimming among the mallards at Central Park's duck pond at the southeast corner of the park.

He quickly became a social media phenomenon. Someone made the duck a Twitter account, and he has a popular hashtag. New York Magazine's dating column joked the Mandarin duck was "New York's most eligible bachelor."

And like most New Yorkers experiencing their first brush with fame, Manhattan's new It Bird has moved from the hustle and bustle of Midtown to tonier digs uptown.

On Friday, a few dozen birdwatchers huddled around Central Park's Turtle Pond, a more secluded spot just steps from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the site of Shakespeare in the Park. They were hoping to catch a glimpse of the avian anomaly, who was now camped out in the rushes below Belvedere Castle.

Bruno Boni De Oliveira, 31, stood at the edge of the pond beside a tripod supporting a massive telephoto lens. De Oliveira said he'd been following the Manhattan Bird Alert Twitter feed while out of the country on a business trip. He'd landed that morning, stopped at home just long enough to grab his camera gear, and came to catch a glimpse of the duck.

Mike Ritchey, 70, peered through a pair of binoculars as the duck stood preening himself on the far shore of the Turtle Pond.

"It's a fun bird," he said with a smile. "It's colorful."

Kate Lockwood, 44, stood on a bench nearby, scanning the shore.

"As a birder, there's always the thrill of the chase," she said.

For his part, the Mandarin stuck to the far side of the pond, ducking the attention and the telephoto lenses.

Back at the park's southern pond, where the Mandarin duck was first spotted in October, a gray-haired man approached a woman identifying birds with the help of her iPhone.

"Have you seen the Mandarin this morning?" he asked her.

"He's over by the Turtle Pond today," she replied.

"Oh," the man said simply. "Good for him."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather