“Why do geese fly in a V-formation?”

Geese flying in a V formation. (Photo: John Benson via Wikipedia)

Last Sunday afternoon, while we were driving to the Dedham Fall Fair and Pumpkin Festival to see the Bengal Bunny, the Bare Naked Ladies’ song “Here Come the Geese” popped up on The-Five-Year-Old’s In-the-Car playlist.

The Five-Year-Old may not have been able to string ten words together at the time without coughing, but that was all she needed: “Mommyo, why do geese fly in a V-formation?”

According to the Library of Congress’s Everyday Mysteries team, geese use a V-formation for two reasons:

1) To keep track of everyone in the group

2) To conserve energy.

Each goose in the V flies slightly higher than the goose (or geese) in front of it. This reduces wind resistance for the geese further back in line. When the goose in front gets tired, it drops to the back and another goose takes the front spot. This enables the entire group to fly further and longer before stopping to rest.

 

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