Photos of a mother duck with an amazing brood of 76 ducklings were taken by a Minnesota-based wildlife photographer, Brent Cizek. Cizek was on his way home as a summer storm was about to begin when he noticed the unusual crowd.
“I happened to find this group of mergansers purely by luck, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw,” Cizek says. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the species, so I wasn’t sure if what I witnessed was a common occurrence or something out of the ordinary. All I knew was that I had never seen anything like that before.”
As female ducks can usually incubate no more than 20 eggs, it’s likely that many of these little folks have lost their mothers before they were adopted by Momma Merganser, as Cizek nicknamed their leader.
Cizek has posted several images of this big family on Instagram so far, but he plans to keep following them and to share their lives with us.
BABY MERGANSERS! There's a new mom on the lake with 14 chicks. How cute are they?!? Update on Mama Merganser's crèche: They have now joined together with the 30 adult hens on the lake and seem to be all sticking together. They had previously been spending the evenings together on the beach but then would the two groups would go in different directions for the day. Incredible to watch over 100 birds swimming together. Full gallery: https://www.brentcizekphoto.com/Wildlife/84-Lake-Bemidji/