Posts tagged ‘Icy Water’

How does a duck keep dry in the water?


A duck’s feathers are made water-proof by oil from a special oil gland near its tail.

A duck is able to deep dry while swimming because its coat of closely packed feathers is actually waterproof.

A duck’s feathers are made waterproof by oil from a special oil gland hear the duck’s tail, which the duck rubs on its feathers.  Oil and water will not mix, and so the water will not soak into the oil-covered feathers and the duck keeps dry.

A duck or any other water bird that covers its feathers with oil, such as a swan or a goose, will sink in the water if the oil is removed.

A thick undercoat of down helps keep the duck warm in icy waters.  A duck swims by paddling with its webbed feet.  A baby duck does not need swimming lessons.  It knows to swim as soon as it hatches from the egg.

The mother duck leads the baby ducks to the water as soon as they are able to travel.   The ducklings cannot fly for six weeks or more after they hatch.

Though a duck can swim with easy grace in the water, it waddles clumsily on land.  It is hard for ducks to walk because their legs are short and placed so far on the body. – Dick Rogers

Why do birds have feathers?

Birds have something that no other animal has—a covering of feathers.  These feathers help birds to fly and also keep them warm.  Birds have two main kinds of feathers:  “contour” and “down”.

The large, outer feather that cover the wings, body and tail of a bird are


called “contour” feathers.  These feathers streamline the body and help the bird fly smoothly through the air.

“Down” feathers are the soft, fluffy feathers found under the outer feathers.  Down feathers provide warmth.

Waterbirds have extra-thick coats of down.  That is why the ducks we see in the wintertime padding about in icy water are not cold.

The entire covering of feathers is called the “plumage.”

Feathers wear out, just as clothes do, and need to be replaced.

Birds lose an their feathers at least once a year and replace them with new ones.  This change of feathers is a process called “molting”.  – Dick Rogers