VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Programs

BirdNote: Why Birds' Feet Don't Freeze

vpr-program-birdnote-12142013.jpg
Copyright Mike Hamilton
/

Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. Have you ever watched ducks walking around in freezing temperatures and wondered why their feet don't freeze? And how do birds, including this Northern Flicker, sit on metal perches with no problem? Birds' feet have a miraculous adaptation that keeps them from freezing. Rete mirabile - Latin for "wonderful net" - is a fine, netlike pattern of arteries that interweaves warm blood from a bird's heart with the veins carrying cold blood from its feet and legs.

Learn more about BirdNote.

Related Content
  • Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. In 1977, Dr. Stephen Kress used a creative approach to reintroduce Atlantic Puffins to Eastern Egg Rock, an island…
  • Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. Take a walk around a lake in late November, and you'll find male ducks in their most brilliant breeding colors.…