This is Charley, the orphaned baby duck. He’s very attached to his human dad.

Everyone knows what it looks like to walk a dog. Sometimes, as the old joke goes, it looks more like the dog is walking his human rather than the other way around. But not so with ducklings. No one needs a leash here! Charley isn’t going to let his dad out of his sight, and he’s not interested in exploring or going anywhere else. It doesn’t matter if his dad walks or runs, or even sprints! Charley is right there with him.

It’s what baby ducks are born to do. As soon as ducklings see their parents for the first time, they “imprint” on them. Imprinting is common in the bird world, especially among ducks and geese. Basically, imprinting is an instinctual and very strong bond that the birds form with their families. Once ducklings have “imprinted” on their parents, they follow them as though tied with an invisible thread.

This special ability makes ducks one of the most natural choices for a companion animal. Next time you’re looking to adopt a pet, give a thought to adopting a baby duck!