Quote of the Week, Perhaps a Bit Longer

"The biological community is a vast and complicated system for sharing and distributing the energy of the sun among a diversity of life forms." ~Martson Bates


An Exotic Treat

Last week while walking the dogs I was surprised to see a male Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) in the pond at our condominium, not a common site for Reno, Nevada. Several years ago there was a Mandarin Duck who hung out in our pond for a couple of weeks, but I thought it was a total fluke and we would never see one here again. But there he was, hanging out on our little pond. I wonder if it's the same one as before or if it's a new one, and if it's a new one I wonder what brought it to our small pond.

Mandarin Ducks are strikingly beautiful. They are closely related to the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), which is not surprising once you see how colorful both of the male birds are. The male Mandarin has tan sides, a multicolored head which is green and rusty with a white crescent running through the eye. The breast is a deep purple with two white vertical bars on each side. The bill is bright red. The most striking feature of the duck is the orange "sails" that rise up over the duck's back, a unique feature that makes identifying the bird quite easy.

Mandarins are native to eastern Asia where exportation and destruction of forest habitat have greatly reduced their numbers. There are populations in eastern Russia, China and Japan. In addition, they are popular additions to personal bird collections and zoos around the world.

Mandarin Duck photo by: Adrian Pingstone taken from wikimedia

Wood Duck photo by: BS Thurner Hor taken from wikimedia

I wish I would have noted what year and what time of year it was when we saw the Mandarin Duck several years ago (I need to start a bird calendar). I can't remember when that was, note to self start bird calendar. I also wish I would have been able to take my own picture of the Mandarin Duck, hopefully I will see one again and have my camera at the ready.


Mandarin Duck, (n.d.), Retrieved October 21, 2009 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_Duck


Erin said...

i remember when we saw that duck...mom and i were out walking the dogs and noticed the odd looking bird and knew it was something different. i think we almost immediately went and got you, because we knew you'd like to see it and probably knew what it was. and you knew. i don't think it was very cold yet...i would say early fall. but which year it was...we were all living in reno, so it must have been at least 3 years ago. it's cool that there's another mandarin around. do they not handle the cold well?

Margery said...

I remember too but what year it was I'm not sure. What a beautiful duck! Love, Mom