Burnaby's Deer Lake has been overrun with people looking for the Mandarin duck

Unfortunately, some people are throwing food in the lake to lure it

Chris Campbell

The search for the “world’s most beautiful duck” has gone crazy at Burnaby’s Deer Lake.

That’s according to local photographer and environmentalist John Preissl, who says the lake has been the scene of a mass influx of people ever since the Burnaby NOW published a photo of the rare Mandarin duck resurfacing.

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The photo, by Preissl’s friend Glen Govier, ran Dec. 29 and was widely read on the NOW website.

“I knew immediately that if we contacted the media that we would open up the floodgates,” Preissl said. “I talked it over with Glen and we decided that it was a good place for the bird community at the boardwalk to contact the Burnaby NOW.” 

duck selfie
John Preissl took this selfie of the crowd at Deer Lake.

On most days since then, there are 25 to 35 photographers at a time on the boardwalk.

“We actually have tour buses coming now with photography clubs,” he said.

Preissl said the Deer Lake boardwalk can handle the crowds, but some people are not following the rules because they are trying to entice the duck with food – a big no-no.

“The duck was very skittish for the first week - however people are now feeding the ducks there,” Preissl said. “One fellow is skirting the rules by throwing in bark constantly. We stop them when we are there - however, we are not always there.”

mandarin duck deer lake
The Mandarin duck in Deer Lake. - John Preissl photo

Preissl has now written to the city to put up some signs warning people not to feed the birds.

“I know the city does not like to install signs. However, in this case it is urgent for all of the ducks and wildlife in the area.”

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