Animal-lover Wendy Crowther has turned matchmaker – for a rare Mandarin duck.
Wendy, 61, was touched by the plight of the handsome – but lonely – male living on the lake at Dewsbury’s Crow Nest Park.
Wendy, a member of the Friends of Crow Nest Park, wanted to mark the refurbishment of the park lake in some way – and decided to splash out on a mate for Dewsbury’s newest resident.
Mandarin ducks, which originate from the Far East, mate for life and are symbols of love and faithfulness but the Dewsbury drake was missing female company.
Click below to see Mandarin ducks spotted across Kirklees
However, no sooner had Wendy released the plain brown female – hardly the fairer sex – than she discovered there were now THREE males on the park lake.
Astonished Wendy said: “I didn’t realise there were three males now but whatever happens romance is in the air. May the best man win!”
Apparently, the female chooses her mate and plain Jane – not her real name – will be spoiled for choice.
Wendy, who helped rescue Wilton the goose who had part of his beak ripped off in Wilton Park, Batley, last year, told how she tracked down the female Mandarin to a breeder in Thorngumbold at the other side of Hull, some 70 miles away.
She collected the duck and brought her to Dewsbury in a cardboard box.
“She’s a beautiful little thing but quite plain,” said Wendy, who lives in Heckmondwike. “It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and the swallows were swooping and all that was missing was an orchestra to play some romantic music.
“The other half was sunbathing on the island. We took her out of the box, let her go and she swam the length of the lake towards him.
“He stood, fluffed himself up and preened his feathers – then sat down and went back to sleep! Who said romance is dead?”
Plain Jane is likely to be sticking around for a while even if she doesn’t hit it off with her suitors.
“She’s had her wings clipped,” said Wendy. “She can still fly but not long distances. Hopefully they will fall in love and we will hear the pitter patter of tiny feet.”
A Mandarin duck symbol is used in Chinese weddings to symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity.
Because the male and female plumages are so different they are referred to in Cantonese as yuan-yang meaning “odd couple.”
For Koreans, Mandarin ducks represent peace, fidelity and plentiful offspring. Pairs of Mandarin ducks are given as wedding gifts.
Wendy hopes Examiner readers will suggest names for ‘Plain Jane’.
Send your suggestions to email@example.com. And keep ‘em clean!