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Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Why Do Geese Fly in a V Formation?

Why Do Geese Fly in a V Formation?

A V formation sometimes called a skein is the symmetric V-shaped flight formation of geese, ducks, and other migratory birds. Wild geese often fly in a V-shaped formation when moving to or from their breeding grounds in the north.

This arrangement gives each bird room to flap its long wings, which span up to five feet. It also provides an almost unobstructed view straight ahead.

Because its eyes are on the sides of its head, a goose can see the other geese more easily when flying in a “V” formation. Geese follow a leader on their flights. They fly rapidly, honking loudly.

Migrating geese fly both day and night, stopping only to rest and feed. The V formation greatly boosts the efficiency and range of flying birds, particularly over long migratory routes.

In a V formation of 25 members, each bird can achieve a reduction of induced drag by up to 65% and as a result increase their range by 71%.

The birds flying at the tips and at the front are rotated in a timely cyclical fashion to spread flight fatigue equally among the flock members. Canada geese are a common example demonstrating the V formation.

Content for this question contributed by Lesley Mahler, resident of Hermiston, Umatilla County, Oregon, USA