Sometimes ducks leave. Maybe no one told you this, but it's a fact of life—"Every duck leaves, baby, that's a fact, but maybe every duck that leaves, someday comes back."
The Mandarin Duck, a.k.a. Mandarin Patinkin, a.k.a. Hot Duck, has not been seen in his usual spots around Central Park all month. The last tweeted sighting was on March 27th at the pond (which he made his main residence last October). Then poof, he was gone. Didn't even leave a note.
This isn't the first time he's gone "missing," however—previously he's taken trips to the East River, the Hudson River, and even New Jersey. Ducks have wings, after all, giving them the ability to fly. Do they have free will? To paraphrase Baruch Spinoza, "It's complicated!" But... probably?
It's possible he was getting out the spotlight while he transformed into Ugly-Hot Duck, or is out there looking for a girlfriend for breeding season. It's also possible, because anything is possible, that he has shapeshifted and we simply do not recognize him in his new form. No one can say for sure!
my working theory is that (currently "missing" from Central Park) Mandarin Patinkin has actually just shapeshifted into this majestic creature https://t.co/13ZtJGY6r4
— Jen Carlson (@jenist) April 3, 2019
If you see Mandarin Patinkin, please alert us. (If you see a coyote with feathers coming out of his mouth, also please alert us.) And note, he may look like this duck below now (if he does not look like the above):
A mandarin duck molting. (Shutterstock)
In the meantime, we have reached out to David Barrett, who runs Manhattan Bird Alert account, and will update if he has any intel. Below, some reassurance:
Wherever the MANDARIN DUCK is, we think he is doing fine. With warm weather and an abundant supply of food and open water now in the area, his life is much easier than in the winter. His time away from the Pond could lengthen, as it did last October.
— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) April 3, 2019
And you can still see him on the subway:
The Mandarin duck may not be in Central Park, but he’ll always be in our hearts pic.twitter.com/9Qw5Wa2YiT
— Kate Hinds (@katehinds) April 10, 2019