February 05, 2019
New York City's famous Mandarin duck at Central Park has a counterpart in the Philadelphia area.
The colorfully feathered bird, native to East Asia, is naturally found in parts of China, Japan and Russia.
It is anything but native to Delaware County, but that's where another unexplained Mandarin duck turned up last month.
"After all of the hoopla that surrounded the one in Central Park, I decided I had to go photograph this one," Quindlen told PhillyVoice on Tuesday. "I also really wanted to show it to my students."
"They make rather docile and agreeable pets to own," Quindlen said. "Aside from their beauty, people keep them because they're pretty friendly."
If their wings haven't been pinioned to prevent flight, Mandarin ducks will often leave on their own accord when they see an opportunity.
That appears to have been the case with the so-called "hot duck" of Central Park. The duck was clearly in captivity at some point because there was a band around its leg.
Delco's Mandarin duck didn't have such a band when Quindlen went to the lake on Jan. 12.
Mandarin Duck, not of Central Park, but of Ridley Park! Mandarin Ducks in the states are most certainly escapees from captivity. Either way, this is one rather dapper duck!!!! #delco #mandarinduck pic.twitter.com/LkMfao2DIe— Mr. BQ (@MisterBQbirds) January 15, 2019
Quindlen returned to the lake two days later and found it was frozen solid. The Delco duck was nowhere to be found. In fact, there were no ducks in sight.
Considering that the Central Park duck appeared in North Jersey at one point, Quindlen thinks it's possible the Delco duck may have found its way to a river and moved on from the area. In the wild, it's also at risk of becoming prey to a hawk or a fox, especially because it sticks out like a sore thumb.
"It's thrilling to see something so jaw-droppingly beautiful," Qundlen said. I've been birding my whole life and love any chance to bring it into the public eye."
Just this month, Quindlen was told of a snowy owl hanging out in Philadelphia (the exact location is kept under wraps to prevent its harm). He also went and took a video of the owl.
AMAZING to see a Snowy Owl in Philly on a 60 degree day! Even more amazing considering we usually see snowies in PA in open spaces like corn fields and airports, not city blocks. Took this with my iPhone through my binoculars! pic.twitter.com/9a9OSRnZ1U— Mr. BQ (@MisterBQbirds) February 6, 2019
But the Delco duck will remain one of Quindlen's favorites.
"We have our own hot duck now," Quindlen said. "It's nice to show New Yorkers that we have it going on in Delco."