They’re just so beautiful, Mandarin ducks. Beautiful, too, is their symbolic meaning in Chinese and Korean culture. We’ve got quite a few Mandarin ducks in our local park, and it’s there where I’ve seen them for the first time.
Whenever I’m in the park, which is often, I try to catch a glimpse of them. To my surprise they still evoke the same emotions as they had on that very first time … and I still express these emotions in much the same way. That is, pointing frantically towards the ducks and simultaneously shouting to my patient partner, Look there! Loook!!! Mandarin Duuucks! What beauuuties! Aren’t they beauuutiful? waiting for the usual much anticipated answer, Ah. Yes. Beautiful. Mhmm. And when patient partner is not around? Right, then I tend to drop all that pointing and shouting. But on few occasions I caught myself muttering to myself, Mandarin ducks…beautiful, aren’t they? and ended up having a brief chat with or receiving smiles from friendly passer-bys.
But now back to my story. A fairly recent event (below) prompted me to type brave mandarin ducklings into the search engine, which, by the way, led me to this video, and that is how I discovered that Mandarin ducks nest in tree cavities, which means, that the ducklings have to jump a long way down to the ground to begin life’s many adventures just a couple of days after they’d hatched…phew (!), in the video all of them did land softly.
The evening I was greeted by a trio of inquisitive Mandarin baby ducklings in our local park …
… I was standing near the edge of River Beck to watch a pair of swans with their offspring. All of a sudden two adult Mandarin ducks and three ducklings appeared from the undergrowth some 1.5-2 metres away. The grown ups were chatting lively, their beaks touching frequently. Neither mother nor father duck noticed their tiny youngsters heading decisively toward their possibly first human. I crouched down and wished I’d had my mobile at hand to record this magical moment. As soon as the little pioneers had reached my feet, their parents took notice. They waddled in our direction quacking instructions to their offspring, who, probably having lost interest in my purple trainers, swiftly returned to their parents. Reunited again all five of them got into the water and swam away. A couple of days later I returned. This time clutching my mobile phone. I really hoped to repeat that experience. I didn’t. Still, amazing images were added to my mental library.