4. The Mandarin Duck

Few birds have thrown New Yorkers into such a frenzy as the mysterious Mandarin Duck did in 2018. The tiny bird made a big splash when he turned up at the Central Park Pond near the Hallett Sanctuary that fall. Mandarin Ducks are usually found in East Asia, so how this guy got to Central Park was quite puzzling. Although the bird had a band on its leg, no one claimed it. When the duck first appeared, the NYC Parks Department told Untapped New York, “It is likely that this duck escaped captivity or was released. Unfortunately, it’s not totally uncommon for people to release pets into a park when they can no longer care for them. This is both against Park rules, and bad for the animal. We have confirmed that it did not come from any of the local zoos.”

Before the Mandarin Duck disappeared as mysteriously as it emerged, there was Mandarin Duck fever in New York City. Dogs were dressed up as the duck, t-shirts were made, The Cut branded the bird “Hot Duck,” and the bird even made it to the pages of gossip website TMZ! The duck made trips to New Jersey and Brooklyn while he was in New York, and was last spotted in March 2019, right before the spring mating season.