Mum-of-the-year photograph shows mother duck with 76 happy ducklings in tow

These adorable photographs could easily by used as a mum of the year entry, as they show one caring mother duck with 76 DUCKLINGS in tow.

The shots were captured by photographer Brent Cizek, who said that he could not have asked for a better opportunity to shoot such a wonderful and unexpected part of nature.

PIC BY BRENT CIZEK / CATERS

Brent, 32, first spotted the group on Lake Bemidji, Minnesota, USA, on June 27 – but that day the photographer only counted 56 ducklings, still an extremely large number.

The group that day was enough to impress Brent, and the photographer snapped away, led by a common merganser with her ducklings close behind.

It wasn’t until Brent returned to the lake on July 16, though, that he saw the full scale of what the group has now become, with almost two dozen new ducklings following the mother, bringing the total to 76.

Brent, from Bemidji, Minnesota, USA, said: “I was in complete shock when I first saw them and had no idea if it was a common occurrence or not, as I had never seen something like this before.

PIC BY BRENT CIZEK / CATERS

“Last year, I had seen a Common Goldeneye with about 20 babies and I was amazed at that, so this sighting blew me away.

Since July 16, Brent has visited the lake daily.

His shots of the 76 ducklings have captured the hearts of people all over the world, with the photographer receiving a string of positive comments.

Getting the dream snap was not easy, though, Brent said, as he had to take around 50 images at a time, hoping to keep the ever-moving ducklings in the frame and in focus.

Scientists have since said they believe the mother duckmay have picked up some ducklings that were separated from their mothers, and will most likely care for them until they are old enough to care for themselves.

Brent added: “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. I think people were very happy to see something positive in the news.

“The photo made a lot of people smile and also learn about this species.”