“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.


About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Ask the iPhone, Nature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Why do geese fly in a V-formation?”

  1. gran says:

    evidently German geese fly in a w formation….


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