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In Central Park, a Rare Brilliance Spotted

Mandarin duck, usually seen only in Asia, shows up out of the blue in NYC
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2018 7:10 AM CDT
Not the famed Central Park duck, but perhaps a close friend.   (Getty Image/Kneonlight)

(Newser) – If there's anywhere you'll see a punk rocker with a "multicolored mohawk," New York City would be the place. But the Mandarin duck that's been hanging out in Central Park since mid-October is another story entirely. The New York Times reports the creature with brilliantly hued plumage was first spotted Oct. 10 and has since gone viral, with spectators all vying for pictures of an animal usually seen only in East Asia. For now, the duck's origins remain a mystery: None of the city's zoos have this type of duck missing from the roster, and it's illegal in NYC to keep a duck as a pet. That means the duck perhaps escaped from, say, an owner in New Jersey and made its way to the city, or maybe the owner itself got sick of the duck and unceremoniously left it and ran.

Either way, the duck has been a huge hit. "It's just an incredible gift to New York," one birder tells CBS New York. Avian experts believe that based on its feeding habits—it likes bugs and vegetation skimmed from the water's surface—the duck should be able to survive just fine in the Big Apple, and park officials say they're just going to let it be unless it becomes injured. It already appears to have made friends with the park's mallards. Read more on how a pair of eager birders tried (and ultimately succeeded) to coax the duck to come closer for pictures, including with a hot pretzel from a nearby cart and, yes, quacking. (The search for a pink-headed duck in Myanmar.)

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