Photo: Mother Mallard and Her Trail of Ducklings

Mallard duck swimming with ducklings

Tony LePrieur / Flickr

Our photo of the day comes from Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary, Canada. Sure, male mallards may have those eye-catching iridescent-green heads and bright yellow bills. But female ducks get this: A line of ducklings following them about wherever they go. Known as imprinting, ducklings begin following their mother soon after they hatch, and continue to do so for a few months after. According to the RSBP, "they cannot survive without their mother, and take 50-60 days before they fledge and become independent." All of which is wonderfully illustrated in this photo by Tony LePrieur – it's almost hard to tell where mom ends and the babes begin. Would you like to see your nature photo featured as the TreeHugger photo of the day? Join TreeHugger’s Reader Photo Pool on Flickr and add your pictures to the group. Alternatively, send it to with "photo of the day" in the subject line.