TERRE HAUTE, IND. (WTHI) – Flying south for the winter isn’t always the case. But no cold feet for these geese, there is a science behind how they can adapt to the cold.
“In organisms like us, warm blood travels down to the foot through the artery and the cold blood travels back to the heart through a vein. Since they’re separated, that cold blood goes straight to your heart and will eventually cause hypothermia,” explained Peter Coppinger, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Rose-Hulman.
That cold rush causes a lot of problems for a human, but not these long-billed, warm-footed geese.
“They have a particular anatomy where the artery and vein travel next to each other. The warm blood helps warm up the cold blood that travels back to the heart, which prevents that cold blood from rushing to the heart,” said Coppinger.
So it’s those wacky feet that keep the Canada geese here for the winter.