This is Mandarin Patinkin, Mandy for short, a Mandarin duck who has taken up residence in Central Park. Mandarins are native to East Asia, and though they are occasionally seen in North America, those birds are always escapees from zoos or private aviaries. (Mandy has bands on his legs, so he's been in human captivity at some point.)
He first showed up in October, and has been mostly living in the pond across from the Plaza Hotel. He's been quite the media sensation, with crowds turning up every day and New York Magazine naming him New York's Most Eligible Bachelor. I missed all the news stories -- not surprising since I was not taking much notice of the outside world during October -- until this past weekend when I saw a clip on CNN, featuring a reporter attempting to lure him closer with a recording of Barry Manilow singing Mandy. (Mandy the duck quite sensibly swam away as fast as his little feet could paddle him.)
On Monday, I finally went to pay my respects and found that he was not in the mood for photo opportunities and was hiding in the rocks. Or so the half dozen photographers and various interested passersby waiting eagerly by the water told me. I waited for 15 minutes or so, then went to have lunch and thaw out in the food court at the Plaza.
I had better luck after lunch; someone was feeding the mallards and Mandy came out to see what was going on and get his fair share of the goodies. He was even more handsome in person, unlike many celebrities, and posed agreeably for his many fans. So now I can cross Go See Famous Duck off my life list and go back to sorting through my books.