This Common Mersanger mama wins mother of the year hands down for taking care of her 76 baby ducklings all by herself! A supermom duck from Minnesota, she was spotted by local photographer Brent Cizek. He couldn’t not snap a couple photos of the adorable mom and duckling group. He was amazed when he realized there had to be upwards of 50 ducklings!
He posted the images to his social media and the Internet went wild. The Audubon Society was the first to notice this beautiful image and reached out to Cizek about the finding. Cizek told the publishing company that he’s seen mother ducks with about 20 or so ducklings following suit, but nothing like this.
Since the original encounter in mid-July, Cizek has been following the family closely to track its steps to see if there will be anymore potential growth in the family. He told PEOPLE in an interview, “I was on the water for about 15 minutes before I first saw the large group and was completely shocked. I had never seen any kind of bird with that many babies. They were acting pretty skittish, so I backed off and let them be.”
Cizek also talked about how he actually managed to capture a photo of the duck family. It actually is a lot more complicated than it looks! He says, “The water was pretty rough in my small boat, making it next to impossible to keep the entire family in the frame, so I fired off as many shots as I could, praying that one shot would be in focus. I think the photo draws people in … [they] instantly question ‘How in the heck is that possible?'”
Cizek took it upon himself to read up more of that kind of bird and if it’s normal to have so many baby ducklings like that. According to field editor for Audubon, Kenn Kaufman, ducks may often lay eggs in multiple nests. Experts aren’t sure why they do this, but it definitely makes for large reproduction.
According to experts, having upwards to 70 or so ducklings is not unheard of in the world of nature. A female duck can usually lays around a dozen eggs, but can lay 20 eggs if needed. It’s likely that the duck mama in Cizek’s photos was an adoptive parent of some of those ducklings. Cizek has been following the group closely and has made a number of visits to the family.
Spent another morning with the mergansers. They are growing so fast. They continue to venture further out on their own, but as soon as Mama Merganser starts heading somewhere, they all quickly follow suite. Count is still at 70+. pic.twitter.com/MkIRc0wUnZ
— Brent Cizek (@brentcizekphoto) July 23, 2018
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