“Do as I say, not as I do.” If you’ve got kids or teenagers, maybe you’re familiar with this age-old idiom.
It wryly acknowledges the fact that parental judgment isn’t always 100 percent perfect. It also points out that, whether we like it or not, youngsters tend to watch Mom or Dad for cues on how to behave.
In the world of humans, this can be a frustrating fact. But in the animal kingdom, it’s literally a way of life.
DOGO News explains that newborn birds and mammals bond with their mothers through a natural biological process called imprinting. The site adds that imprinting occurs immediately for birds that begin walking the moment they hatch.
Those birds include turkeys, geese and ducks. In fact, DOGO News mentions that young chicks often imprint themselves on the very first moving object that comes into view.
That helps illustrate just how strong the imprinting drive can be. If you’ve ever observed creatures in the wild, you might have noticed that babies actually have a tough time acting independently of their mother.
That was certainly the case for a family of ducks near a residential swimming pool. The Dodo recently shared a Viralvideouk video shot by a concerned male bystander, which was promptly viewed all across the internet.
The three-minute excerpt shows 10 adorable baby ducklings trapped in a pool. Their anxious mama waits at the edge, but the stone walls are way too high for their little legs to clear.
Mom jumps in and out to show them how it’s done, but the babies simply can’t follow suit. Next she leads them to the pool steps, but the rise is still too steep for those tiny webbed feet to navigate.
A helpful man, possibly the homeowner, attempts to save the day with a big blue pool net. He starts giving each duckling a private “elevator” ride to the dry patio, but Mama Duck is disconcerted by all that human attention.
Visibly distressed, she hops right back into the water. And in a clear display of robust imprinting at work, those peeping babes follow her one by one.
“They’re going back in,” observes the would-be good Samaritan with an incredulous chuckle. He even points out that one of the fretful ducklings is now paddling away in the Jacuzzi.
For a moment, this watery rescue seems like a pretty lost cause. “You guys are killin’ me,” mutters the narrator, adding “they want to be with their mother.”
But apparently, he has one more subtle trick up his sleeve. The next time Mama Duck leads her babies toward the steps, there’s a curious collection of items toward the top.
Those items appear to include lava rocks and a sturdy cement patio turtle. They increase the height of the highest riser, giving each baby duck a useful helping hand.
Without a single human in sight to ruffle anyone’s feathers, Mom jumps onto the patio. Her little ones proceed to follow, this time with added assistance from those strategically placed stepping stones.
One little guy struggles at the very end, but eventually everyone is up and out. And true to form, the happy family waddles away with a relieved mother duck in the lead.
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