The Goose Story

This fall, when you see the geese heading sough for the winter, flying along in a “V” formation, you might be interested to know what science has discovered about why they fly that way.

It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. Thus, by flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. (Those who share a common direction and sense of community can accomplish more because they are traveling on the “draft” of one another.)

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly get back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. (Our work is easier when we join with others headed in the same direction.)

The geese at the back of the formation constantly honk to encourage those up front to maintain their speed. (Just like people!)

Finally, and this is very important, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshots and drops from the sky, two other geese immediately fall out of formation and follow it down. Moreover, they stay with their fallen companion until it is either dead or able to fly again. They then launch out on their own again or with another formation to catch up with their group. (Perhaps if we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other and use our cooperation.)