Why do ducks stand on one leg?

Hubby and I were walking the dog by Windermere yesterday evening when we came across a duck standing on one leg and another duck with its head tucked tightly into a wing. Immediately, Hubby asked, ‘ Why do ducks stand on one leg?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘Why do ducks stand on one leg?’

A sleeping duck balances comfortably on one leg, whilst it friend assumes what looks to a human being a more comfortable position!

A sleeping duck balances comfortably on one leg, whilst its friend assumes what looks to a human being a more comfortable sleeping position!

Hubby’s question sparked my curiosity. Doing a little research, I found the following answer:

Birds’ legs have an adaptation called “rete mirabile” that minimizes heat loss. The arteries that transport warm blood into the legs lie in contact with the veins that return colder blood to the bird’s heart. The arteries warm the veins. By standing on one leg, a bird reduces by half the amount of heat lost through unfeathered limbs.

(http://birdnote.org/show/why-birds-stand-one-leg)

Ambleside Pier at Waterhead. Avians galore!

Ambleside Pier at Waterhead. Avians galore!

Windermere has significant numbers of birds living in and around it throughout the year. Indeed, according to the official website of the Lake District National Park,

Over a thousand ducks, geese and swans live on Windermere throughout the year. This more than doubles to over two and half thousand birds during the winter!

Many birds fly from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe to spend the winter. Windermere has more birds on it in the winter than any other lake in the Lake District. It’s one of the top places in Britain for wintering goldeneye, tufted duck, coot, pochard and red-breasted merganser.

(www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/placestogo/explorewindermere/thingstodowindermere/birdspotting)

Sunset taken from the lounge around 8:45 pm one 28.4.16.

This view of tonight’s sunset was taken from our lounge around 8:45 pm. (28.4.16)

May Bank Holiday long weekend is almost here, and the sun does not set until 9 pm. Blenheim Lodge is located only 5 minutes from Windermere, and guests staying with us can easily access the Lake. Why not take the opportunity this extra long weekend for a break in Bowness where you can enjoy a gentle pre- or postprandial stroll by the lakeshore? It’s a great way to spend as much or as little time simply sitting and watching the bird (and human) world go by.

Visitors are bound to see local and visiting birds when walking along Windermere promenade any time of the year.

Visitors are bound to see local and visiting birds when walking along Windermere promenade any time of the year.

As for the more serious birdwatcher who enjoys studying avian behaviour, your own grandstand seat on one of the benches dotted around the Lake awaits. Watch the birds flit to and fro, take forty winks, preen their feathers, paddle on the Lake, fish for food or receive handouts from visitors at your leisure. Perhaps the sight of more avian antics will prompt more searching questions about specific behaviours?

Ducks sunbathe at Waterhead, Lake Windermere.

Ducks sunbathe at Waterhead, Lake Windermere.

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

Visit our website: http://www.blenheim-lodge.com

Email: enquiries@blenheim-lodge.com

Telephone: 015394 43440

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