Beautiful Mandarin Duck Makes His Yearly Appearance in Canada

Trevor the Male Mandarin Duck in British Columbia

“Trevor” at Burnaby Lake (Photo: Stock Photos from James Chen/Shutterstock)

Male Mandarin ducks are considered some of the most beautiful animals in the world, thanks to their head full of colorful feathers. Native to East Asia, where they are still found in abundance, there is also a significant population in Britain. This population was cultivated after domesticated Mandarins, imported from China in the 20th century, escaped and created a feral colony. But still, seeing a Mandarin duck in North America is a rare treat; and when it happens, it draws excited attention.

Perhaps one of the most “famous” male Mandarin ducks in North America can be found in British Columbia, Canada. Affectionately named “Trevor,” this duck moves between Burnaby Lake and Deer Lake, both located in suburban Vancouver. Trevor first made a splash in 2018, when he was sighted swimming between the common mallards native to the area.

Tourists flocked to the lake in order to take pictures of the brightly colored duck, who is unmistakable with his orange, purple, white, and blue feathers. However, after the initial sightings in 2018, Trevor disappeared and wasn't seen again until November 2019, when a local photographer spotted him and got some new photographs. Come spring, he'd disappeared again to the disappointment of locals, but luckily he's back again in 2020 to strut his stuff for photographers.

Mandarin Duck in Central Park

Mandarin Patinkin or “Hot Duck” in Central Park. (Photo: Stock Photos from Jay Gao/Shutterstock)

Trevor isn't the only Mandarin duck to make a splash. In 2018, another male Mandarin made a name for himself when he was spotted in Central Park. Affectionately named Mandarin Patinkin after Broadway actor Mandy Patinkin, he caused a sensation and was named “New York's Most Eligible Bachelor” by New York Magazine‘s The Cut. This caused the bird to also get the nickname “Hot Duck.” Bird lovers watched his every movement as he also visited Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Though Mandarin Patinkin was banded, his origins were unknown and he ended up disappearing just as mysteriously as he appeared. His last sighting was in March 2019. While the enthusiasm for these exotic Mandarins is understandable, there is another side to consider. These animals are not native and are most likely escaped domestic pets. This is particularly true of the Central Park duck, which had a band.

In fact, the only Mandarin duck colonies that exist in North America—the largest is in northern California—were formed by escaped or released domestic ducks. The danger with this is that these non-native species can sometimes become invasive. As they don't have any natural predators in the ecosystem they're dropped into, they can quickly spiral out of control and overrun local wildlife. This is why there are strict controls on the ownership and release of exotic animals. In fact, the reason why no one stepped forward to claim the Central Park duck is probably because it's actually illegal to own these animals as pets in the city.

So while we can admire their colorful plumage and try to unravel the mystery of where they came from, we should also remember to appreciate the native mallards we already have.

Locals are thrilled that “Trevor,” a male Mandarin duck, has been spotted in British Columbia for the third year.

Mandarin Duck in Lake Burnaby

Photo: Stock Photos from haseg77/Shutterstock

Trevor the Mandarin Duck Swimming in Burnaby Lake

Photo: Stock Photos from haseg77/Shutterstock

Since they are rare to find in North America, sightings of them are met with excitement. In 2018, New York went wild when a Mandarin was found in Central Park.

Mandarin Patinkin in Central Park

Photo: Stock Photos from JStone/Shutterstock

He was nicknamed both Mandarin Patinkin and Hot Duck, but hasn't been spotted since spring 2019.

Hot Duck Swimming in Central Park

Photo: Stock Photos from Robert Cicchetti/Shutterstock

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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