The Sense of a Goose

Contributed by: Barb Perry

Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing 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. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. (People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another).

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to do it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. (If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.) When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the wing and another goose flies point. (It pays to take turns, with people or with geese flying south.) The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up the speed. (What do we say, when we honk from behind?) Finally, (Now, I want you to get this) when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until the goose is either able to fly or until it is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group. (If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that).

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