Friday, August 3, 2007

Why Do Birds Fly in "V" Formation?

When late Fall rolls around, we will begin to see the migration of geese from northern areas,of the United States and Canada to the warmth of Florida and other southern states. You will recognize them as geese by their V Formation, flying long distances high in the sky.

According to the Library of Congress Research Center's website, and a multitude of other sources, there are two reasons the geese fly in V Formation.

1. Energy Conservation:
The V Formation shape actually reduces the drag force a bird experiences when flying alone. Since each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, there is a reduction of wind resistance. The front bird in the lead position works the hardest. So the birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest. If you are interested in the physical science of this phenomenon, check out

2. Communication:
The second benefit to the V Formation is that it provides the birds with good visual contact of each other. They can do a better job of making sure the flock stays together.

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