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BEMIDJI, Minn. - Make way for ducklings takes on a whole new meaning thanks to a picture taken by Minnesota photographer Brent Cizek.
Cizek was taking photos at Lake Bemidji when he noticed the common merganser with her brood. When he was done counting, there were dozens of ducklings swimming behind the mama, WCCO reported.
Cizek said he first saw the feathered family in June. He was taking photos at the lake as he tried to maneuver his small boat in choppy water. Only one photo was usable from that outing, the one of the duck and her more than 50 babies, The New York Times reported.
He told the Times that he’s spotted the family in recent trips and she’s gained even more babies and has now as many as 76 wards.
MAMA MERGANSER! I was able to track down the now famous Lake Bemidji Common Merganser that has an adopted brood of over 76 babies! I love the story that these photos tell.— Brent Cizek (@brentcizekphoto) July 17, 2018
Full gallery: https://t.co/wg8xioJBIG#audubonsociety #minnesota #bemidji #duck pic.twitter.com/c0Jycct4HX
It isn’t odd for ducks to have freakishly large families.
The National Audubon Society says that ducks will lay eggs in nests of other ducks, normally of the same species, but sometimes in other birds’ nests.
Scientists don’t know why, but think it may be to keep at least some of their babies safe in case a scavenger comes and attacks the nest, according to the Audubon Society.
Normally a duck can lay a dozen eggs and can incubate about 20. Experts believe that the reason this mother duck has so many following her is that some of the babies may have been separated from their mother and she looks like their mom so they followed her, according to the Audubon Society.