UPDATE: Here's more new video showing the duck on the Hudson River.
The city's beloved Mandarin Duck, which we were first to report on when it turned up in Central Park in early October, has been taking extended trips lately, disappearing from his normal spots in the park and leaving his fans panicked that he'll never return.
"Rare Mandarin Duck Missing From Central Park!" headlines have screamed. But this duck is never truly missing, it just hasn't been where we've come to expect it to be. Still, where does the duck go, exactly? He isn't talking, but some video footage has surfaced showing that our new little New Yorker has been taking off to... New Jersey.
Oh, Mandarin Patinkin. This betrayal stings.
David Barrett, who runs the Manhattan Bird Alert Twitter account and has been offering updates on the duck since it arrived, alerted us to the latest development over the weekend. He told us that it turns out the duck has been chilling at Woodcliff Lake in North Bergen, at least that's where he was back on October 19th (it hasn't been spotted there since). "For weeks now I have been speculating that when the Mandarin Duck disappears from Central Park, he flies west, to the Hudson River or even farther," Barrett told Gothamist. "This video supports my idea."
New Jersey resident Ashley Hernandez spotted the duck there, and her friend, Brandon Munoz, took this video. The footage shows the same black band on its right leg.
Barrett told us that, according to a local NJ Facebook group, the duck has also been to Edgewater (on October 23rd, "on a walkway by the Hudson River"). Following that trip, he returned to the 79th Street Boat Basin, and by October 28th was back at Central Park Pond.
— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) November 26, 2018
Currently the duck is back in Central Park, but it will likely head to NJ again. Barrett told us, "Ducks, like all birds, are driven by satisfying their basic needs. Some other place—and I can only speculate that this place might be on the Hudson or in New Jersey—may offer the Mandarin Duck food that he likes. Mandarin Ducks are known to eat grains and seeds (which is why you sometimes see him feeding onshore) along with plenty of aquatic vegetation. Different water bodies offer different flora and provide ducks some variety in their diets."
Seriously New Yorkers, stop feeding this guy pretzels and start tossing him seeds instead, lest we lose him to New Jersey.