At the peaceful Lake Bemidji in northern Minnesota, you’re bound to see nature at play. It’s here where photographer Brenk Cizek spotted an incredible mom raising her children – a duck mom.
Brent was visiting the lake last month. He was scouting locations to try and take some wildlife photos from his small boat. But nature came to him when a rather intriguing scene unfolded in the near distance.
Across the water, Cizek spotted a gentle splashing of water and an enormous feathery family appeared before him. Brent had never seen anything like this before.
I noticed a bird with a ton of babies, so I turned my trolling motor hard right to investigate. Once I got closer, I noticed it was a merganser [a type of duck], and was simply amazed by how many babies it had with it.
At the time, Brent wasn’t able to capture any photos of them, he feared that he’d disturb the ducklings if he got too close. However, he spotted them again later in the day and he began to click away on his camera.
I didn’t feel like this was something I might ever experience again.
At the time, it seems the lone duck mom had taken on the role of ‘duck mom’ for about 50 ducklings. But she wasn’t ready to stop adopting just yet.
After that initial encounter, Brent has continued returning to Lake Bemidji to take more duck family photos. Now, there are even more additions to the ever-extending family.
I have been able to go out several times and find the brood and since the first encounter, she has picked up even more, and now has a total of at least 76 young ones with her. She had to have picked these babies up from other moms. It’s hard to say if they were orphaned, or if the babies from other broods just tagged along with this mom.
It seems that this mother duck has plenty of room under her wings for new kids.
How has this mother duck formed such a big family? The National Audubon Society has weighed in on that question:
The merganser in this picture probably picked up several dozen ducklings that got separated from their mothers. Adult ducks can’t tell which birds are theirs, and lost young birds that have already imprinted on their own mothers will instinctively start following another common merganser because she looks like mom.
Not only does she look like a good mother duck, she’s also taking on the responsibilities.
Cizek noticed this duck mom checking up on her 76 adopted ducklings, making sure they’re all safe and together. This is epic parenting.
Nature is amazing and I always love learning about a new species, so even if one more person sees these photos and then learns about them, I really think that is great.
Don’t forget to watch this awesome duck mom and her many children in the video below. Also, at Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section. 🐝