Before New York Citys Mandarin duck, there was Burnabys

Before New York City\s Mandarin duck, there was Burnaby\s
Worlds most beautiful duck spotted in Metro Vancouver
If youve spotted a colourful, exotic-looking duck thats been hanging around Burnaby Lake recently, you might have done a double take.

The Mandarin Duck, as its known, has been causing a stir in the media lately, and among birdwatchers, since it is not native to North America.

On October 31, a mandarin duck spotted in Central Park merited a New York Times article, and similarly this week in Vancouver, Global BC shared the word that at least one Mandarin Duck has been seen in the region, in Burnaby Lake as well as some reported sightings in Lost Lagoon in Vancouvers Stanley Park.

View this post on Instagram                   Such a handsome feller… caught a lucky glimpse of the famous mandarin duck at Burnaby Lake over the weekend ūüôā #mandarinduck #burnabylake #wildlife #exoticspecies #duck #quack #handsome #dashing #fancy #nature #explorevancouver #burnaby #burnabybc #britishcolumbia #birding #ducking #duckduck #majestic #notabee #duckphotography

The mandarin, widely regarded as the worlds most beautiful duck, is a native of China and Japan, explains the website Living with Birds. Hes a close relative of the North American wood duck‚Äďsomething Metro Vancouverites are very familiar with seeing in our local lakes and small waterways.

Similarly, the mandarin duck prefers small wooded ponds, which may explain where he (or they) have shown up in Burnaby Lake and Los Lagoon.

View this post on Instagram                   Meet the Mandarin duck, which is known as the most beautiful duck in the world and usually only found in East Asia. I spotted this beauty yesterday floating around Piper Spit on Burnaby Lake. What a rare find! He must have escaped captivity to be drifting through our waters. #explorebc #animals#naturelovers #bc

But how did the most beautiful bird in the world get to beautiful British Columbia? Just like with the Central Park duck in New York, we just dont know.

We do know, however, that the mandarin duck has been here since around May, as confirmed by Burnaby Lake Park via their social media.

He has been around since May. The Burnaby Lake community has been very Canadian-like as we are with any unfeathered celebrity and not bothered him too much by keeping a respectful distance.

So bird lovers, take note, this rare duck is a sight to behold‚Äďbut be respectful if youre checking him out.

Before a Mandarin duck in New York City gained international recognition this week, another duck of the same plumage had already made several low-key appearances in Burnaby over the past six months.

Mandarin ducks are renowned for their dazzling multicoloured feathers and regarded by some as the world's most beautiful bird.

They're also native to East Asia, which is why bird watchers were gobsmacked when one was spotted in Manhattan's Central Park in early October.

Subsequent media reports have drawn hundreds of onlookers to Central Park and catapulted the bird to Internet fame. 

But since spring, Metro Vancouver has had its own Mandarin duck floating idly on Burnaby Lake, drawing the rapt attention of local bird watchers and nature photographers. 

"The Burnaby Lake community has been very Canadian-like and not bothered him too much," said Irene Lau, chair of the Burnaby Lake Park Association.

After speaking with several local birders, Lau said it's believed the duck escaped from a hobby farm, although no one knows which one.

A Mandarin duck was also spotted at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park and the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, although it's unclear whether it was the same one, Lau said.

But Burnaby Lake has proven most reliable for bird watchers and photographers, who are regularly stationed alongside the water for a fleeting glimpse of the Mandarin duck, which is a relative of the resident wood duck.

"It's just magnificent," she said. "It's wonderful to see pictures, but there's nothing quite like seeing it for yourself."

If you want to catch a glimpse of the elusive duck, make sure to look up. Mandarin ducks like to perch high in trees.

Lau encourages onlookers to keep a respectful distance and to be ready to use the zoom function on a phone or camera. Use bird seed, not bread, to feed the ducks, she said. 

It's not known how much longer the duck will stay ‚ÄĒ but for now, "life is pretty good at the lake," Lau said.

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