Here’s my segue from Winter Water . . . to the semi-graceful form of winter ducks. The snow is gone, but I still froze my fingers into Rocket Pops, snapping pics of these ducks navigating their own version of tundra.

Unlike me, the ducks kept their digits warm, thanks to the ingenious countercurrent circulation system employed in their feet. In short, the capillaries of a duck’s feet work with the arteries to modulate foot temperature against icy waters, and keep core body temperature warm.

“Arterial blood leaves the bird’s core (trunk) at body temperature, while venous blood in the bird’s foot is quite cool. As the cool blood returns toward the core, heat moves by conductance from the warm arteries into the cool veins. Thus, arterial blood reaching the feet is already cool and venous blood reaching the core has already been warmed.”
~ Ask a Scientist

Mallard Female skating on ice

Jansen - ©ingridtaylar

Ducks dabbling in ice pond

Ice Breakers - ©ingridtaylar

Male Mallard walking on ice

Traverse - ©ingridtaylar

Duck swimming on icy pond

Icy Dip - ©ingridtaylar

Duck climbing on ice

The Always-Tricky Climb Out - ©ingridtaylar

Mallard male on ice sheet

The Slip - ©ingridtaylar

Mallard Female Duck Walking on Ice

Ice Trekker - ©ingridtaylar