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Author Topic: Do birds get frozen feet?  (Read 2306 times)

blakestyger

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Do birds get frozen feet?
« on: 06/01/2009 20:13:32 »
I live near the Wash. Every night there are hundreds of thousands of waders, gulls and wildfowl roosting on the mud if the tide is out and on the sea if it's in. When on the mud, I assume they stand rather than sit, they are often at sub-zero temperatures; tonight it's -5C.

The question is: How do they avoid their rather thin and fragile feet becoming frozen? It doesn't seem likely that they would suffer - evolution probably wouldn't allow that.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2009 20:20:58 by blakestyger »


 

Offline RD

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Do birds get frozen feet?
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/2009 01:11:15 »
Quote
Birds have several tricks to keep their legs from freezing...
http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/index.html?quid=967
 

blakestyger

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Do birds get frozen feet?
« Reply #2 on: 07/01/2009 09:06:07 »
Thank you RD. That blood flow arrangement, the rete mirabilis, is found in other vertebrates too, in other parts of the body. I didn't realise that it was used here - an example of something evolving independently perhaps.
 

Offline RD

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Do birds get frozen feet?
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/2009 17:08:55 »
Thank you RD. That blood flow arrangement, the rete mirabilis, is found in other vertebrates too, in other parts of the body. I didn't realise that it was used here - an example of something evolving independently perhaps.

Parallel evolution
?
 

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Do birds get frozen feet?
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/2009 17:08:55 »

 

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