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Will Priscilla fit the bill? Because her Elvis has left the building

PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 February 2020

Park ranger Shane Heffer and wildlife team leader Dave Dowding holding the merganser mate. Christchurch Park. Picture: Laured De Boise

Park ranger Shane Heffer and wildlife team leader Dave Dowding holding the merganser mate. Christchurch Park. Picture: Laured De Boise

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It proved to be a case of booking into Heartbreak Hotel for Priscilla, a Hooded Merganser duck, when her prospective mate, Elvis, left the building.

Wildlife team leader Dave Dowding holding Priscilla in Christchurch Park. Picture: Laured De BoiseWildlife team leader Dave Dowding holding Priscilla in Christchurch Park. Picture: Laured De Boise

Priscilla had been brought by romantic council staff as a Valenine's Day gift for Elvis, in the hope she would prove to be a suitable mate for the male duck, who has been entertaining crowds at Chrischurch Park, Ipswich, for several weeks.

But on the eve of Valentine's Day, Elvis, a rare species of duck orginating from North America, was nowhere to be seen, disappointing would-be match-makers.

Elvis ruffled the feathers of bird watchers when he first turned up on the wildlife pond, as his distinctive crest marked him out from the other drakes.

Hooded Meganser Priscilla in the wildlife pond in Christchurch Park. Picture: Laured De BoiseHooded Meganser Priscilla in the wildlife pond in Christchurch Park. Picture: Laured De Boise

Elvis is likely to be an escapee from an ornamental collection and the park rangers found a yellow tag on his leg - indicating probably he didn't journey across the Atlantic to get to Ipswich.

MORE: Feathered visitor escorted from high street shop by rangers

Seeing as the new visitor attracted crowds of up to 50 people at one time, Ipswich Borough Council decided to do something special for Valentines Day.

It's only right that Elvis gets his Priscilla, so after careful research a female Merganser was bought from Anglian Waterfowl and Poultry - and on Thursday February 13 she was released into the pond.

Elvis the Hooded Merganser didn't show up for his date with Priscilla as he'd already left the building. Picture: WILL RODWELL Instagram: @wildwillgreenElvis the Hooded Merganser didn't show up for his date with Priscilla as he'd already left the building. Picture: WILL RODWELL Instagram: @wildwillgreen

Sadly Elvis had left the building when his bride arrived but wildlife team leader, Dave Dowding, is confident he'll return for love.

"Elvis likes to show off a lot, he's often in the pond displaying his quiff for the crowds," he said.

"As Priscilla was bred in captivity we weren't sure how this was going to go down, but she took to it like a duck to water."

The rangers have made a small hut for her which will go on one of the islands in the pond and the entrance is just big enough so the other ducks can't get in.

Priscilla the Hooded Merganser has been introduced to Christchurch Park in Ipswich as a mate for Elvis. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Priscilla the Hooded Merganser has been introduced to Christchurch Park in Ipswich as a mate for Elvis. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

The tiny female looks completely different to her partner to be, with plain brown feathers and a reddish cap on her head, and the moment she was released she shot off into the pond to swim among the other ducks.

Park ranger Shane Heffer said that Priscilla could take some time to get used to the waters of the wildlife pond with its different foods.

"This pond is very diferent to the cage she was kept in before," he said.

"Elvis does go off on trips during the week and he was even spotted in a certain high street shop.

"But, he often comes back on weekends as it's a lot warmer in the pond where it's more sheltered"

Sadly whilst the famed duck wasn't waiting for his mate when she arrived, the team hope that he'll have a lovely surprise to keep him warm whilst Dennis the menace rages.

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