It is always inspiring to see mothers caring for their young in the wild. One of the most common examples is the sight of a mother duck leading her young in a straight line.
Whether they’re crossing the road or gliding across the pond, it’s always amazing how the ducklings instinctively follow their mother.
But a photographer has captured a truly amazing moment, after spotting a mother duck taking care of more ducklings than anyone could have imagined.
Brent Cizek is an amateur wildlife photographer from northern Minnesota. In 2018, he took a trip to Lake Bemidji, near Duluth, and spotted a goosander.
But what was extraordinary about this duck is that she took care of more than 76 ducklings!
Brent couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“It was breathtaking,” the photographer told The New York Times. “I didn’t know a duck could take care of so many chicks. »
“It kind of forces you to look and ask yourself: How? How it happened ? How can this mom take care of all these ducklings? She just looks very proud and stoic in the photo. »
MAMA MERGANSER! I was able to track down the now famous Lake Bemidji Common Merganser that has an adopted brood of over 76 babies! I love the story that these photos tell.
Full gallery: https://t.co/wg8xioJBIG#audubonsociety #minnesota #bemidji #duck pic.twitter.com/c0Jycct4HX
— Brent Cizek (@brentcizekphoto) July 17, 2018
No, they are not all his own biological children. Goosanders typically lay 8 to 11 eggs. However, they have also been known to lay them in the nests of other females.
According to the Times, this practice distributes the offspring and increases the chances of survival. But it’s unlikely that this mother duck actually hatched all the eggs, leading to the conclusion that it is in fact the matriarchal female of the pond, who cares for all the ducklings while the adults moult their feathers.
“She’s sort of the great-grandmother,” David Rave, Bemidji Area Wildlife Officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, told The New York Times.
It’s always amazing to see this duck exercising such close control over so many children – even though there are dozens of them, they all know how to follow her commands.
“Everyone is really amazed,” said Brent Cizek. Everyone keeps saying, “Mom of the Year.”
We agree, she is an extraordinary mom! Thanks to this photographer for capturing such an amazing sight!
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