New Yorkers Are Kind Of Freaking Out About The Mysterious Mandarin Duck In Central Park

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Americans are a little more stressed than usual, thanks to the looming midterm elections. That may explain why so many have glommed onto this story: There’s a Mandarin duck chilling in New York City’s Central Park. No one knows how it got there, and it’s not a breed of duck indigenous to the city. And that’s the story! It’s a pretty, colorful duck sitting in one of the nation’s most beloved parks! The end!

CNN has done some deeper reporting, just to satiate the curious. The duck, which was first spotted in late October, is found predominantly in east Asia — hence the name — but also parts of Europe. The city’s zoos have said it’s not theirs. Park ranger Dan Tainow told CNN it was probably someone’s pet, though it could have also flown from either New Jersey or Long Island.

Whatever the story, the duck has been milling about the more pedestrian regular mallards, which are now sort of boring when seen next to their visitor’s brightly colored hide, with its reddish-orange head that sort of looks like a mohawk and a riot of blue and green feathers. It’s attracted untold tourists and inspired New York Magazine to dub him or her “New York’s most eligible bachelor.”

It’s also scored a ton of social media coverage. Here are some typically normal tweets, whose same-iness is kind of beautiful:

Again, there’s no word on how it got there. But accepting the mystery seems to be part of the appeal. Enjoy this non-story as a brief respite, a chance to do nothing but look at a super-pretty duck before returning to the relentless anxieties of the non-Mandarin duck parts of the world.