Some lucky folks in Canada recently were treated to sightings of what is highly considered the “most beautiful duck in the world,” also known as the Mandarin Duck. Wildlife and nature photographers lined the boardwalk for several days after the initial sighting.
Last year a Mandarin Duck, which is actually native to Japan and China, appeared in Burnaby Lake. The animal attracted flocks of tourists and locals who wanted to catch a glimpse of the out of place rarity.
The duck was named “Trevor” and could be seen between Burnaby Lake and Deer Lake.
As of late, the duck was nowhere to be seen, up until Burnaby photographer, John Preissl, reunited with the animal this week.
Considered as “the most beautiful duck in the world”, sightings of the Mandarin are far and wide.
When Christopher Deane first caught a glimpse of the mandarin duck in the Lower Mainland, he knew it wasn’t from around here.
“I thought that’s the weirdest bird I’ve ever seen,” the hobby birder told CBC News. “It looks like a parade float! They just don’t look like a normal bird. They’re all fancy and frilly!”
The Mandarin Duck is a species native to Asia, Europe, and northern Africa, and is closely related to North America’s wood duck.
Recent sightings in Deer Lake Park have prompted dozens of wildlife and nature photographers to crowd the lake in hopes of catching a glimpse.
Male mandarin ducks are known for their intensely colorful plumage, which includes a purple crest and two large orange “sails” at their rear.
Avid birder and professional photographer John Priessl was one of the first to spot the bird in the Burnaby park, Dec. 28, 2018, while he was leading a wildlife tour.
“We stumbled upon it just by accident,” he told CBC News. “We decided it was a good place for a lot of photographers and people from the birding community to view the duck, where it was.”
Dozens of people lined the boardwalk near the northern end of Deer Lake park following the initial sighting. Priessl says the duck only makes itself visible a couple of times per day.
Unfortunately, Priessl says, several people attempted to lure the bird out by giving it food.
“That’s a big no-no in the wildlife photography world,” said Priess. He warns food can be harmful to its health and even attract it into areas where there are predators.
Where did it come from?
According to George Clulow, former president of the B.C. Field Ornithologists, this particular bird was likely the same one spotted last year in Burnaby Lake Park, when it was a juvenile.
“This is almost certainly a bird that’s been released, probably initially at Burnaby Lake,” said Clulow. “As the years progressed, this bird has molted into a beautiful, male mandarin duck. It’s such a beautiful bird, it’s attracting a lot of attention.”
Mandarin ducks are typically found in Japan and in eastern parts of Russia and China. Clulow says its native climate is similar to that of the Lower Mainland, enabling the bird to live comfortably in local parks.
He says the bird is closely related to the North American wood duck and is likely looking for a mate.
“There are known hybrids between mandarin ducks and wood ducks, but for the most part … they’re not fertile. So there won’t be a breeding population of hybrids.”
Burnaby Lake Mandarin Duck comes out of hiding, puts on a show https://t.co/H7ZemMOMnT
— Burnaby NOW News (@BurnabyNOW_News) November 27, 2019
“No one that we know of had seen him since last spring. We thought possibly an eagle got him. I finally got down to the lake this morning and Trevor was there. A bit skittish at first but then swam right up to me and stayed an hour directly in front of me,” Preissl told BurnabyNow.
— Glen ~ It Is A Grape Life 🍷 (@ItIsAGrapeLife) November 27, 2019
According to the website Living with Birds, the Mandarin Duck is widely regarded as the world’s most beautiful duck. The species is known for its vibrant purple, white, blue, and orange coloring.
Trevor’s feathers definitely stand out among the other native ducks
A similar instance occurred in Manhattan last year when a Mandarin Duck began to call a duck pond in Central Park home.
Gus Keri, whose viral video kicked off the MANDARIN DUCK mania, returned to the Central Park Pond and produced this stunning sequel pic.twitter.com/NkUfusltlI
— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) November 1, 2018