“Super Mom” Duck Caught on Video with 76 Ducklings in Tow

October 11, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Photographer captures amazing mama duck taking her 76 ducklings on a swim

The sight of a row of baby ducklings trailing behind their mother is always adorable, but a wildlife photographer in Minnesota recently captured an extraordinarily heartwarming scene.

Testing out his new boat on Lake Bemidji in bad weather, Brent Cizek didn’t expect much from his expedition… until he came across a common merganser with a really long line of ducklings in her wake.

It was the most ducklings he’d ever seen, more than he could count.

He frantically began snapping photos so he could prove what he’d seen was real, but it was hard to get one that was both clear and could fit all the babies in at once.

In one photo he counted 56. Later, he went back to take video and counted 76!

Mergansers can have a lot of babies at once – about 12 max – but not that many.

Wildlife experts have since determined that the other 5 dozen or so must be adopted.

Some she may have hatched unintentionally. It’s common practice for ducks to lay an extra egg or two in other ducks’ nests as an evolutionary strategy for survival in case something were to happen to their own offspring.

Some may have been orphaned.

Some may have been confused and started following the wrong hen.

Others may have been given to her voluntarily by younger less experienced mothers who thought their offspring had a better chance with her, reports National Geographic:

“The lead hen is probably an older duck that has raised ducklings successfully in the past. At about ten years old, she knows the best spots to forage and how to avoid predators.”