I saw three geese today. They were moving forward and descending rapidly across the road I was traveling. Their wings were quivering in an effort to slow down to land, I assumed. And they maintained a perfect mini-v formation throughout their subtle turns and dives. Amazing. I’m sure they weren’t using radios or sonar or whatever modern technology the Thunderbirds or other fascinating military performance flying squads use to stay in sync. How do they do it? (I’ll likely be corrected on the sonar comment—I’m guessing they probably do use some kind of sonar.)
Geese fly in a V because it is easier for every one except the lead goose, who has to break the wind. The geese take turns in the more strenuous lead position. It is a well-coordinated group effort. If you want more details, you can read a few here. http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/geese.html
I have also read on more than one occasion (although I can’t place my fingers on a valid source to back it up in the amount of time I feel warrants the effort) that if a goose is injured or falls sick, two other geese drop out of the formation and stay with it until it is either dead or recovered and able to rejoin the group. A “no man left behind” code. A lovely thought.
Have you ever been left behind in a group? A rock in your shoe has to be dealt with? You stubbed your toe and now have a limp? You watch everyone rush on ahead and hope you won’t fall too far behind? You had to stay home alone with the flu when everyone else went out to dinner? Did that ever happen to you? Well, it wouldn’t have if you were a goose. I’m just saying.