Have You Noticed This Unusual Duck at Woodbury’s Colby Lake?

It appears to be a domesticated duck that escaped into the wild, according to a University of Minnesota professor.

It swims and quacks like a duck, but its look raises questions. 

An unusual beige and white duck was spotted the past several weeks swimming with a group of mallards on Colby Lake. Runners and walkers who frequent the trail around the lake were baffled at the sight of it.

"I wasn’t even sure it was a duck," said Beth Neu, who spotted it while running around Colby Lake in October. 

It was swimming with geese when she first saw it, Neu said. It was not until two weeks later she noticed it coupled with a mallard and realized it was a duck. Neu said she has never seen anything like it in the nearly 10 years she has run around the lake. 

It appears to be a domesticated duck that escaped into the wild, according to Scott Lanyon, head of the department of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota.

It could also be a mallard hybrid, said Mark Bergland, chair of the biology department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

“There are a lot of duck hybrids out there,” Bergland said.

Domesticated ducks come from mallards, so they are genetically compatible, he said.

Time is likely running out to get a glimpse of the duck. Mallards typically fly south in early winter to warmer areas along the Mississippi Alluvial Valley in search of food, according to the website for Ducks Unlimited, a wetland and waterfowl conservation group.

The duck has been spotted frequently along the shoreline next to the parking lot of Edgewater Park, and near the Colby Lake storm drain adjacent to Lake Road.  


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Greg Dasovic November 24, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I agree with the dude from the UWRF, its a Pieball.
Kris Janisch November 24, 2012 at 02:48 PM
So a Pieball a just a mallard hybrid Greg?
Kris Janisch November 24, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Greg Dasovic November 24, 2012 at 04:25 PM
KJ, the hybrid term is a little over the top but piebald / pieball relates to off color in animals and birds. They have all the features of their species but lack pigment and sometimes eye color. I've seen this in ducks,pheasants, turkeys and grouse. Have a Great Woodbury Day!
Kris Janisch November 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Thanks Greg!
Cindy November 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I'm so glad I looked at this post!!! I can't wait to show it to my husband so he knows I'm not crazy. I saw this duck but I only had my iPod to take a photo. I live on a nearby pond and occasionally see odd ducks that I try to identify. Since I didn't have my binoculars and a couple days on the Internet I gave up. My guess was a domesticated duck after I read about some living in Cottage Grove. I am happy with either the professor's or Greg's answer. Thanks Kris!
Kris Janisch November 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Ha! Good to hear Cindy!
Michael Brun December 12, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I'm happy to have confirmed your sanity!
Linda December 16, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I have one that looks just like him. I believe it to be and Indian Runner.
Kris Janisch December 17, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Thanks Linda!
Laura Hamlin January 15, 2013 at 04:08 AM
I took a photo of three of this type of duck hanging out with Mallards at a pond near our house in Orlando Florida. Email me if you want the shot....found this site searching for what they are! Laura
Kris Janisch January 15, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Cool Laura! You should be able to post the pic straight to this story. Use the "upload photos and videos" button.


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