On Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, my wife Diana and I saw this mother Mallard bring her flock of 18 babies to the water. They were so tiny it seemed like they must have been only a day or two old. The first day we saw them, the babies stayed in a tight group right around their mother. It was fun to watch the ducklings over the next several days. By the second day they were asserting their independence and exploring their new surroundings away from Mom.