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Posted by on Oct 25, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Why Do Geese Fly in a V-shaped Formation?

Why Do Geese Fly in a V-shaped Formation?

Migrating Canada geese fly in a wedge, or V-shaped formation, for two reasons. A goose’s eyes are on the sides of its head, so it can see the other geese more easily when flying in a “V” formation. This arrangement also gives each bird room to flap its long wings, which span up to five feet.

It is sometimes thought that geese follow the leader of the flock on their flights, but this is not true. In reality, the geese change position during flight. Migrating geese fly rapidly, honking loudly. They fly both day and night, stopping only to rest and feed.

Canada geese fly in a distinctive V-shaped flight formation, with an altitude of 1 km (3,000 feet) for migration flight. The maximum flight ceiling of Canada geese is unknown, but they have been reported at 9 km (29,000 feet).

The V-shaped formation that geese use conserves their energy too. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest.

The other benefit to the V formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation may assist with the communication and coordination within the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.

Content for this question contributed by Michelle Heithoff, resident of Templeton, Carroll County, Iowa, USA