There is nothing cuter than seeing a long line of ducklings happily swimming in a line behind their mother. Calm bobbing on the surface, but tiny feet rapidly paddling below. However, usually, a mother duck would be followed by five or ten ducklings. However, this mother is being hailed as “super mom” after being photographed with 56 babies in tow.
Brent Cizek is a wildlife photographer with a passion for animals. Last winter, he bought a small boat to get closer to animals. He hoped to capture them in their natural environments, and he largely achieved his goal.
However, when summer came around he headed to the larger lakes of Minnesota. The water on Lake Bemidji was rough, but it didn’t deter him. And it’s a good job, too.
“Well, it wasn’t the greatest idea as it was quite windy that day and the waves were tossing my boat around in any direction that it wanted to,” Cizek said.
“I decided to carry on, knowing that it wasn’t likely that I would see anything, much less be able to take a photograph with the choppy water.”
But, his hopes were up as he saw the Common Merganser – a species of duck – mother with ducklings trailing behind her.
“The closer that I got, the more my heart started racing as I had never witnessed something like this before,” he said.
“I knew that this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity, so I immediately tried to fire off as many shots as I could, just hoping that one of the photos would turn out.”
“I was able to then count 76 babies with her,” he said. “So she had picked up more babies along the way. It’s been remarkable. It’s going to be a sad day when they continue their migration.”
Scientists noticed that this is common in Mergansers, but not all of the ducklings are related to the mother duck. It’s more like a daycare system, or a creche, for ducklings. But, as any of us with children know, it is a huge responsibility and massive task to take care of one or two – let alone 76!
What do you make of these amazing photos and this mother duck’s childcare skills? Let us know in the comments, and share with your family and friends if you enjoyed! You can also check out similar stories here on Happiest.