Ducks survive the winter by migrating south to milder climates, including coastal areas. Ducks are well-suited to colder climes, but they migrate because ponds and lakes freeze and their sources of water plants and insects are no longer available.
Some ducks feed on grains and seeds, but Ducks Unlimited indicates that when snow covers the ground, these ducks also move south. During the winter months in areas like the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and coastal northern California, ducks decrease their activity and eat and drink in leisure. They store up needed nutrients that sustain them on the lengthy migration back to their northern breeding grounds in the spring.