This amazing 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 actually bought a little plastic boat, and he chose 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 intended to,” Cizek tells MNN. “I decided to continue, recognizing 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 dangerous, 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 began counting, and he realized she had 76 ducklings with her.
” I was able to after that count 76 babies with her, so she had gotten more babies along the way,” he says. “It’s been remarkable. It’s going to be a unfortunate day when they continue their migration.”
Cizek was shocked by the view, and he quickly began snapping photos. Because the water was choppy, it was difficult for him to get a clear picture, but he wound up getting one picture that he liked. 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
Full gallery: https://t.co/R943UEsV4y#minnesota #audubonsociety pic.twitter.com/9xciL9hzyr
After the picture went viral, a few ornithologists shared their sights on the photo. One ornithologist, Bob Dunlop, claimed that the ducklings were probably a ‘mixed-flock.’ Dunlop said it’s common for waterfowl to lay eggs together and afterwards take turns looking after all of the ducklings with each other.
” It’s more like a day-care thing,” Dunlop told The Minnesota-Star Tribune.
Still, Dunlop likewise added that he had never seen a flock this huge previously– it was definitely a spectacle!
Cizek likewise took a video of the flock and shared it on YouTube. Everybody was impressed by the mother duck’s mother’s skills!
YouTube commenters liked the video, and many commenters made hilarious jokes about the brood. One commenter joked about just how hard it would be for the mother duck to keep track of all the ducklings.
Cizek mores than happy that his video is bringing so many people joy, and he’s also glad that the video is helping people learn more about birds and wildlife conservation.
” I was pretty flabbergasted what was going on with the ducklings,” said Cizek. “I knew it was pretty unique.”
This mother duck is doing an amazing job looking after her mixed brood.