Why do geese fly in a V formation?
Why do geese fly in a V formation? (Thinkstock)
Why do geese fly in a V formation?
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You asked us, "Why do geese fly in a V formation?"
 
See, flying takes a lot of energy - flapping wings, generating lift.
 
All this flapping creates an updraft in the air currents around the bird's wingtips.
 
Another bird can spend less energy by flying in this sweet spot, which is slightly behind and above the first bird.
 
The concept is similar to cyclists riding behind one another in a bike race to save energy, and for geese, spending less energy means flying longer distances.
 
In fact, one study found they can increase their range by 70% on long migratory flights, so when the lead bird gets tired, it drops back in formation and another bird moves to the front.
 
Flying in the V formation also lets the birds keep in visual contact with one another so they're oriented in the right direction.

That way, they don't crash into each other or get lost along the way.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/why-do-geese-fly-v-formation/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why does expending less energy allow geese to fly longer distances?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (23)
  • taylorr-day
    9/25/2015 - 11:12 p.m.

    Geese fly in a V formation in order to be more energy efficient and aerodynamic. The geese in the back use less energy than those in the front and this is aided by a constant rotation of positions.

  • stout,savannah-cas
    9/26/2015 - 11:04 p.m.

    1. When birds fly and their wings are flapping, they create an updraft in the air currents around the bird's wingtips. When flying longer distances, it is easier for the birds to fall back into the V shaped formation, flying in the updraft made by the bird in front of them to conserve energy.
    2. It was interesting to learn why geese fly in the V shaped formation. It is one of those things that everyone notices, but nobody knows why. I'm glad I know why now.

  • ravend-bag
    9/27/2015 - 11:18 p.m.

    You need energy to fly far. So if I'm behind a person running it is a little easier to run then the person in front of me.

  • laurenc-bag
    9/28/2015 - 06:08 p.m.

    The reason why expending less energy allows geese to fly longer distances is because all the flapping from all the geese creates an updraft and the geese don't have to work as hard to fly where they need to fly.

  • kimj-pla
    9/29/2015 - 06:21 p.m.

    There are several reasons that birds fly in a v-formation. One reason being it creates a sweet spot. That sweet spot allows the birds behind the lead to do less work. Thus allowing them to fly faster and longer. It's like bike cyclists biking behind each other to save energy. I've always questioned why birds fly the way they do and now I Know.

  • laurenc-bag
    9/29/2015 - 06:54 p.m.

    Also, when a bird gets too tired that it can barely fly anymore, they can drop back in their formation and the next bird can come up.

  • julianc-bag
    9/30/2015 - 09:14 p.m.

    Geese fly in the v formation because it's easier to catch the updraft of the bird in front of him/her so the geese can save energy by gliding.

  • ethans-bag
    9/30/2015 - 10:41 p.m.

    According to the article birds flying in the V formation use less energy than lone flying birds. This is because some birds in certain spots of the V don't have to work as hard as others and if the front bird gets tired it swaps its position with another bird in the V so it can take a small break from working really hard and get some rest before regaining its position.

  • laurend-day
    10/07/2015 - 07:22 a.m.

    It's that time of year again. Large flocks of geese are seen flying over our heads and making loud noises. Although I've heard different theories, I never quite understood why they flew in V formation. This article cleared up my understanding. I thought it was interesting how it brought out that when the lead bird in the front gets tired, they switch positions. Flying in this formation also helps them fly in the right direction without crashing into each other, which is probably a good thing.

  • maddyc-Orv
    10/16/2015 - 12:35 p.m.

    Expending less energy allow geese to fly longer disances because it's obvious that when you use less energy you can do things longer. Like when we are running in P.E., they say that you should run at a pace instead of using all of you energy in the start, that way at the end of the race you still have some energy left to sprint that little bit left and get a good time. That's pretty much the same thing.

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