Why do geese fly in a V formation? (Thinkstock)
Why do geese fly in a V formation?
Lexile

You asked us, "Why do geese fly in a V formation?"
 
You see, flying takes a lot of energy. Flapping their wings and 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. It's located slightly behind and above the first bird.
 
The concept is similar to cyclists riding behind one another in a bike race to save energy.
 
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.
 
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.

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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 (146)
  • coltonc1-bon
    9/23/2015 - 12:49 p.m.

    Wow! That's awesome how geese care for each other. People could really learn a lot from the geese.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    9/23/2015 - 01:15 p.m.

    Ive always wondered why geese fly in V's. I didnt know there was a sweet spot at all!

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    9/23/2015 - 02:49 p.m.

    I think that it is really interesting for geese to have figured out a way to travel better. I think that these geese have thought out their formation really well from the past. I believe that if the geese have been able to figure out a way to travel, they could probably think of other things than just a V formation.

  • taylornelson-bak
    9/23/2015 - 02:58 p.m.

    I??It!????

  • peytonnelson-bak
    9/23/2015 - 05:49 p.m.

    It's was so cool how they fly in v formation!

  • devynn-pla
    9/23/2015 - 05:49 p.m.

    so now i finally found out why geese fly in v shapes to save energy and to have longer flights. i think its like a person in a way when someone goes up for a speech or any of that sort. once they get tired as in nervous someone else jumps in to keep it going.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    9/23/2015 - 07:13 p.m.

    I think that it is cool for geese to fly in V formation while it is flying south for their migration for warmer weather, the geese flying in the V formation are always the same as they do if it is summer time that they needed to fly back to their habitat where they migrated from. The V formation might change because the lead bird will change to the back while the bird that was behind the lead bird leads them to their migration place.

  • william1108-yyca
    9/23/2015 - 07:20 p.m.

    WOW! I never knew flying in V formation is much easier. I never knew that when the front bird gets tired that another bird comes in front. And I also never knew that there were leaders that help or guide them to where they go. I only thought they go in V shape to not get lost. But now that I have read the article I now know why they fly in V formation. Maybe next time when I see the geese or something like tat fly in V formation I will now know why they fly in V formation sometimes or all times.

  • milok-3-bar
    9/23/2015 - 08:16 p.m.

    I find it interesting how the birds do what us humans do when riding a bike and doing races. This shows that they are smart animals if they think of ideas that we use.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    9/23/2015 - 08:28 p.m.

    I never knew about this. Now I know why in cartoons like in Tom & Jerry they put geese in V shape. When I was little I thought the cartoon made up the shape. But, why do they do V shape why can't it be other letters? I hope scientists could figure out my questions.

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