The wayward duck who mysteriously appeared along the Charles River Esplanade this summer and stole hearts when it befriended a family of Canada geese is now up for adoption.
The domestic white duck, dubbed “Essie" — short for Esplanade — by Esplanade Association staff, was scooped up from the river banks on Nov. 4 by workers from the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
The association, a nonprofit that maintains the park in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the rescue group feared that as winter approached, the geese who had taken Essie under their wings would take flight, leaving the American Pekin duck all alone.
“Because it is unknown whether Essie would be able to survive the winter on [its] own, the Esplanade Association reached out to ARL [Boston] to rescue and once again place the domesticated duck into a new home,” the association said in a statement.
Essie first showed up in the park sometime in June, and immediately fell in line with a family of geese as if part of the gaggle. Many people jogging or walking through the area were struck by the sight of a stark-white duck waddling around behind Canada geese, and would reach out to the Esplanade Association about it.
The theory was that Essie may have been an abandoned pet who “imprinted” — a form of learning in which an animal will see another animal as a parent and adopt many of its behaviors — on the geese, who seemed to welcome Essie without any issues.
“Following Essie’s journey throughout the summer was very special to our organization and many Esplanade visitors,” said Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association, in a statement. “Although we will miss seeing Essie on the Esplanade, we are grateful to the ARL for safely rescuing the duck and finding a long-term home where Essie’s health and safety can be ensured.”
Mike DeFina, a spokesman for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, said Essie is now in the organization’s care at a facility in Brewster, where other ducks reside.
Finding and catching Essie was relatively easy, taking about 30 minutes, he said. Field service agents used bread to lure Essie to them and were able to gently pick her up in “a testament to Essie’s temperament,” the group said.
“She was very, very cooperative,” DeFina said.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston has already received “quite a few e-mails” during the past few days from people interested in taking Essie in. DeFina said they expect to “find her a home sooner rather than later.”
“It’s really just figuring out who the best match is,” he said.