“Oh look, a seagull!”

Distract Me, Dammit #6

There’s a Mandarin Duck in Central Park and People are Losing Their Minds

This is a male Mandarin duck:

what a sexy-ass duck

Isn’t he gorgeous? Mandarin ducks are the fabulously colorful cousins of the North American wood duck. Literal distant cousins though, because the Mandarin duck is only found in East Asia. Or so we thought. Recently, a Mandarin duck has been spotted waddling around and being magnificent as fuck in Central Park. Birders (yes, that’s what you call them) are freaking out. “Why is he here? Is he lost? Will he be my friend?” they (probably) exclaimed.

Of course I also immediately fell in love with the duck and have named him Mortimer. How could I not love him? His binomical name is Aix galericulata, and galericulata is the Latin word for “wig.” I mean, come on. NY Park Service isn’t exactly sure how our little tourist friend ended up in Central Park, but they think he could have been a pet that was released (or ran away, in a heroic fashion. Go Mortimer!) or he could have flown in from a bird sanctuary up to 3 or 4 states away. What they do know, however, is that he isn’t an escapee from any NYC zoos or sanctuaries.

soooooo preeeeeetty
“The Mandarin duck is healthy and happily mingling with the mallards of Central Park. While it’s exciting to spot such a rare bird in New York City’s backyard, like every other celebrity sighting, New Yorkers should know to give him space and not to disturb him.” — John McCoy, Deputy Director of the Urban Park Rangers

McCoy had to make this statement, of course, because last weekend there was a literal line in Central Park just to catch a glimpse of the bird. So if you’re in Central Park in the near future, take a stroll around the 59th st pond and you may get a glimpse of a real celebrity. But for god sakes LEAVE MORTIMER ALONE! Let him chill and do his ducky thing in peace.

“I’m, too sexy for my plumage…”

If you’re interested in keeping up with the comings and goings of Mortimer and other foul like him, follow Manhattan Bird Alert on Twitter. (Birding Twitter is really more exciting than it sounds.) If you like pics of birds + fowl language, follow @EffinBirds.


  • These beautiful photos are all from Sarah Samaroo for Untapped Cities.
  • The midterm election was yesterday! Sorry for the lack of post but I was away from the house all day trying to keep busy so that I didn’t give myself a stroke refreshing Twitter every 5 seconds. Thanks to all who voted. Now on to 2020 campaigning!
  • Follow me on Twitter: @cake_tease. I’m funny sometimes.
  • Other distractions are HERE.