This snow brought some excellent snapshot opportunities for me. First, as you might have noticed, I replaced the header with a new one of a dark-eyed junco on a snowy redbud branch. I also got a Carolina wren to stop for a moment so that I could take a picture that wasn't a brown blur (those of you who are familiar with wrens know they are frantic little bundle of feathers).
The two pictures brought to mind a question that was asked and answered on the Web - Why don't birds' feet freeze? Here's a good explanation why:
Birds actually use several tricks to keep their legs from freezing. First they can stand on one leg and pull the other up under their feathers when one leg starts getting too cold. And if it gets really cold, they can squat to cover both legs with breast feathers. If you see a bird doing this, they may be getting uncomfortably cold legs.
Also birds’ feet are mostly bone and tendons, so unlike mammals, they have a limited supply of nerves, blood vessels or muscles to freeze. Their feet are also covered with scales [Me: Just like the reptiles which they descended from] which isn’t a living tissue and less susceptible to freezing.
Finally, birds don’t have sweat glands in their skin to produce any moisture to freeze. Heat and moisture are accumulated in sacs, transferred to the lungs and eliminated through the mouth. No moisture escaping through their feet is also the reason they don’t stick to metal perches in the winter.And now you know the reason birds' feet don't freeze!