This Mother Duck Has Her Flippers Full, With 56 Duckings In Tow!
All aboard! Check out this incredible scene, recently captured in a timeless photo by a man in Minnesota, of 56 (!) ducklings obediently following one female freshwater duck.
"I knew the image was special when I took it," said Brent Cizek of Bemidji, Minnesota. And the amateur photographer was right about that.
According to Richard O. Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University, Brent captured "an extraordinary sighting," as it's rather uncommon to see that many ducklings all together in one group. Richard clarified that the ducklings couldn't possibly all be siblings; mother ducks tend to lay a half-dozen to a dozen eggs at a time. Rather, the adult female can be thought of more "like the great-grandmother," explained David Rave, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The Audubon Society website has shared the shot, and provided even more detail about how this unusual family likely came together. Mother ducks, the site explains, unlike some penguins and other birds, can't tell which ducklings are theirs. This adult female has likely picked up a couple groups of babies who were either separated from or abandoned by their birth mothers.
The natural world always surprises us in the most wonderful ways!