MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A mama duck in Minnesota has captured hearts across the nation after a Bemidji photographer snapped an image of her leading an astonishing 76 ducklings across a lake.

Amateur wildlife photographer Brent Cizek noticed the exceptional common merganser, which he now calls Mama Merganser, late last month during a photo session on Lake Bemidji.

While it’s not uncommon to see a troupe of 20 or so ducklings lining up behind a single hen, 76 of them is another story.

“It was mind blowing,” Cizek told The New York Times. “I didn’t know a duck could care for that many chicks.”

An earlier photo of the same bird was featured by the National Audubon Society, in a July 13 story that explained that ducks sometimes put their eggs in others’ nests and that separated duckling sometimes cling to ducks that look like their mothers.

Still, it’s not quite sure how Mama Merganser amassed such an impressive brood.

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘Mom of the Year,’” Cizek told the newspaper.

A typical common merganser usually has a small flock of about 10 ducklings. The species is found in all season near lakes in parts of northern Minnesota.

Comments (32)
  1. its a good thing ducks don’t nurse or that would be a challenge…

    1. Americans are morons who have grown so stupid that they can no longer even count.

  2. Jim Stanton says:

    As person, who left “LA”, after I retired, (Lived in LA, for 45 Years) and moved to “Beautiful Bemidji”, I now have another reason, to be happy with my choice, of a retirement, in Bemidji, MN. PS: There are worse things, than “Ice & Snow” and the 405 Freeway, is one of them!!!

  3. 76 ducklings?!? Was that mother duck swimming toward an old shoe?

  4. David Jenson says:

    I’m betting she picked up some orphans.

  5. roughman998 says:

    Photoshop is a wonderful thing…

    1. Thanks, I almost got sucked in too. Nice edit job.

    2. Derek Veith says:

      Based on?

  6. wood0813 says:

    If we could just get Yurus to pronounce Merganser correctly!

  7. ricardoqueso says:

    “Look at that motherduck-”
    “I’m just talkin’ ’bout ducklings.”
    “We can dig it!”

  8. (B.A. Bible/Biology)*


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  9. Kinda reminds me of the baby boomer problem with children grand and great comeing home to roost after years of non productive living.