A person writes: ‘Saw these ducklings cuddling because of the cold weather today’. I think the photo is great. Nature creating a beautiful arrangement naturally.
Apparently, adult ducks can freeze to death in very severe cold conditions. I am sure that ducklings are more vulnerable. But they are equipped with excellent insulation as they must be, sitting on icy cold water for many hours on end. Sometimes they conserve heat by standing on one leg. My research indicates that ducks are okay down to temperatures at around 20°F (freezing conditions are 32°F) which is about -7°C.
As you can see, a duck’s feet are not insulated and therefore the arterial blood is very cool in that area of their anatomy. Therefore they do not lose body heat. This helps to conserve heat inside the body. Below 20°F a duck might hobble because their feet become very cold. Other signs of a duck is very cold is if they shiver, become motionless or have increased food consumption. They might stand and then plop down.
If ducklings become water logged they can die of cold as a crucial part of their insulation becomes ineffective. I have never seen a photograph like this one where the ducks are in a perfect circle helping to keep each other warm. It makes for a great photograph.