• Can We Learn from Geese Flying in Formation?

    by  • December 2, 2011 • On Culture

    You’ve probably heard this old geese chestnut of unknown origin, but it does make the point about teamwork and collaboration, and besides, we got this from our father-in-law so it had to make the cut.

    This fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in a “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 percent 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 the formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets 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 in the wing and another goose flies point.

    (It pays to take turns doing hard jobs—with people or with geese flying south.)

    The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

    Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gun shots and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the injured goose until it is able to fly or until it is dead. They then start out on their own or with another formation to catch up with the group.

    (If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.)