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?"
 
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.
 
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 (26)
  • brettw-lam
    9/23/2015 - 12:02 p.m.

    Geese flying in a V formation makes a lot more sense to me. I have been told why they fly in that formation before but this article makes it a lot more clear for me. I learned that one study found they can increase their range by 70% on long migratory flights.

  • joeg-orv
    9/23/2015 - 12:52 p.m.

    Geese can fly longer when expanding less energy because it gets them more strength and energy. which would allow them to fly longer.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    9/23/2015 - 03:22 p.m.

    I think this is amazing to know this because this is why birds fly in a V-shape. Flying that way can reduce the energy used in long migratory flights. However, although this is a good way to fly, it makes the birds vulnerable to hunters. Shooting down multiple birds at once is easier than shooting down only one bird high above the sky.
    Why does expending less energy allow geese to fly longer distances?
    Answer: Expending less energy allow geese to fly longer distances because it allows the geese to have more energy to fly longer.

  • carsonb-2-bar
    9/24/2015 - 08:25 p.m.

    Birds use less energy flying in a V formation. By doing so the birds work together and are more efficient. Being more efficient and using less energy allows them to stay in the air longer and fly longer distances.

  • raymunda-4-bar
    9/24/2015 - 09:02 p.m.

    Expending less energy allows geese to fly longer distances because the geese can save more energy. As a result, the geese gets less tired and flies great distances. It seems interesting because when I was a kid, I seemed interested why the birds made a "V" shape. What shocked me is that, I didn't think that the "V" shape is efficient because it would save more energy.

  • stellas-6-bar
    9/24/2015 - 09:25 p.m.

    Expending less energy allow geese to fly longer distances because flying takes a lot of energy like flapping their wings. 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.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    9/24/2015 - 09:47 p.m.

    I think that it is intelligent and fascinating that the birds have a sort of system of flying. They all have an eye on one another and have techniques to fly longer distances. I am not sure how they learned this type of flying formation but I think that it is cool and pretty amazing. There are some really intelligent animals that use different techniques and skills for their use.

  • davidd-4-bar
    9/24/2015 - 09:51 p.m.

    expending less energy help geese travel longer distances because all that energy they saved they can use to help the bird behind them by creating a updraft which allows the flock to move further

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    9/24/2015 - 09:54 p.m.

    Birds are flying in a way how they are making it better for themselves. These birds are flying in a bird formation because they are using less energy and makes them go the right direction and also not leaving them behind.

  • kieranw-3-bar
    9/24/2015 - 10:34 p.m.

    Expending less energy allows geese to preserve their energy and fly farther distances usually done during migration season. I think it is pretty cool how geese are smart enough to know how to stay in the right direction and notice that there V formation helps them. When the tired front bid drops back another shifts up to lead. It is a cool way to see an inside perspective on birds.

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