A mama duck is being called a ‘super mom’ after being photographed with over 70 ducklings in tow!
This incredible brood was captured by wildlife photographer Brent Cizek. Cizek lives in Minnesota, and he loves going on the lakes near his house and taking photos and videos of the wildlife there. In summer 2018, he headed to Lake Bemidji. He had bought a little plastic boat, and he decided to take it out on the water.
“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 tells MNN. “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.”
Even though it was risky, going out on the boat ended up working out for Cizek. As he was going along the shoreline, he caught sight of a Common Merganser and a huge brood of ducklings.
He started counting, and he realized she had 76 ducklings with her.
“I was able to then count 76 babies with her, so she had picked up more babies along the way,” he says. “It’s been remarkable. It’s going to be a sad day when they continue their migration.”
Cizek was shocked by the sight, and he quickly began snapping photos. Since the water was choppy, it was hard for him to get a clear photo, but he ended up getting one photo that he loved. He shared the photo to his Twitter page, and it quickly went viral.
I was able to head out onto the water before sunrise this morning and track down Mama Merganser and her large 70+ brood.
— Brent Cizek (@brentcizekphoto) July 22, 2018
After the photo went viral, a few ornithologists shared their views on the photo. One ornithologist, Bob Dunlop, said that the ducklings were probably a ‘mixed-flock.’ Dunlop said it’s common for waterfowl to lay eggs together and then take turns looking after all of the ducklings together.
“It’s more like a day-care thing,” Dunlop told The Minnesota-Star Tribune.
Still, Dunlop also added that he had never seen a flock this big before—it was definitely a spectacle!
Cizek also took a video of the flock and shared it to YouTube. Everyone was amazed by the mama duck’s maternal skills!
YouTube commenters loved the video, and many commenters made hilarious jokes about the brood. One commenter joked about how tough it would be for the mama duck to keep track of all the ducklings.
Cizek is happy that his video is bringing so many people joy, and he’s also glad that the video is helping people learn about birds and wildlife conservation.
“I was pretty flabbergasted what was going on with the ducklings,” said Cizek. “I knew it was pretty special.”
This mama duck is doing an incredible job looking after her mixed brood. If you want to see the ducks in action, check out the video below.
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Source: Brent Cizek