21 little ducklings are raised by a South Korean man. They believe him to be their actual mother. They follow him around, all in single file line. It’s already adorable to see that when it’s a mama duck they are following; Imagine a man!
The funny thing about ducks is that they are not born with instincts that direct their behavior. They don’t even know they are birds! Because of this, they don’t gravitate towards their own (or similar) species like mammals do. What ducks do is they will imprint on the first caretaker they see at birth. As you can imagine, some pretty outrageous cross-species parent-child relationships have occurred.
The flock of tiny ducks are like the Korean man’s children. Actually, they ARE his children! He is a nationally certified Duck Father with legal papers to prove it. He’s been fostering them since before they were born. He kept the eggs warm in his house until they were ready to hatch, then helped them out of their shell when hatching.
Hence, why they think he is their mother. Their attachment is unbreakable. To the ducklings, the man will be their leader for the rest of their lives.
The man began taking his flock on hikes because they had to learn the necessary skills to survive in the wild. The ducklings would eventually have to live back and forth between his house and the wild. He knew that if he did not train them and take them out to exercise that they wouldn’t be strong enough to survive when left home alone.
Sometimes he even runs and they follow him closely, working hard to keep pace. There are even points where they have to climb steps or steep slopes, but even though terrains can be quite tough for these little guys, they always manage to keep up with their Daddy Duck.
The bond between them is so strong they trust only him. They have learned to identify the sound of his voice and respond to his commands only. If anyone else tries to guide them they ignore them completely.
The ducklings may have to learn how to fly with a little help from specialists as they grow older. But no matter what, they will always return home. Their relationship is forever.
Try to watch this video of them hiking together without (at least) smiling… it’s impossible: