Paradise ducks no strangers in unusual habitat

A pair of paradise ducks found an unusual new heaven by calmly strolling through central Dunedin yesterday, undaunted by the pedestrian-crowded footpaths.

The unflappable male paradise shelduck duo have made it a habit over the past couple of days and have apparently acquired a taste for freshly-cooked chips.

Yesterday, the birds again confidently claimed their territory in much of the eastern side of George St between Hanover and Frederick Sts.

Zoologist Anthony Harris was puzzled by the behaviour of the two birds, which had joined forces outside the breeding season.

"Paradise ducks in heaven," he added with a smile.

"It’s very remarkable, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s unprecedented," he said about the behaviour.

Mr Harris is honorary curator of entomology at the Otago Museum and has long been the Otago Daily Times Nature File columnist.

Daring duck duo undaunted by Dunedin denizens. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Daring duck duo undaunted by Dunedin denizens. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN

Paradise ducks usually avoided close human contact and busy built-up areas.

However, these two ducks could have been reared from ducklings by humans, given their confidence around people, he said.

Mr Harris believed it was the same two ducks that had been recently seen waddling on the University Union lawn and at the Otago Farmers Market last Saturday.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

Comments

It is still legal to shoot ducks in the wild, so long as they are flying, and these may be taking refuge in the city while it is a friendly place to wait out the end of the season.

 

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