When geese fly in a V formation it is to conserve energy and to keep track of geese. The longer side is due to the odd numbers.
Flight is the main mode of locomotion used by most of the world's bird species. Flight assists birds while feeding, breeding and avoiding predators.
This article discusses the mechanics of bird flight, with emphasis on the varied forms of bird's wings. The specifics of hovering, take-off and landing are also examined. Additional adaptations of bird's bodies relating to their flying ability are covered. Finally, theories on the evolution of bird flight are discussed.
Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway between breeding and wintering grounds, undertaken by many species of birds. Migration, which carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans, is driven primarily by availability of food. Migration occurs mainly in the Northern Hemisphere where birds are funnelled on to specific routes by natural barriers such as the Mediterranean Sea.
Historically, migration has been recorded as much as 3,000 years ago by Ancient Greek authors including Homer and Aristotle, and in the Book of Job, for species such as storks, Turtle Doves, and swallows. More recently, Johannes Leche began recording dates of arrivals of spring migrants in Finland in 1749, and scientific studies have used techniques including bird ringing and satellite tracking. Threats to migratory birds have grown with habitat destruction especially of stopover and wintering sites, as well as structures such as power lines and wind farms.
A V formation (sometimes called a skein) is the symmetric V-shaped flight formation of flights of geese, ducks, and other migratory birds. V formations also improve the fuel efficiency of aircraft and are used on military flight missions.
The V formation greatly boosts the efficiency and range of flying birds, particularly over long migratory routes. All the birds except the first fly in the upwash from the wingtip vortices of the bird ahead. The upwash assists each bird in supporting its own weight in flight, in the same way a glider can climb or maintain height indefinitely in rising air. In a V formation of 25 members, each bird can achieve a reduction of induced drag by up to 65% and as a result increase their range by 71%. The birds flying at the tips and at the front are rotated in a timely cyclical fashion to spread flight fatigue equally among the flock members.
The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a goose with a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, it also occasionally migrates to northern Europe, and has been introduced to Britain, New Zealand, and other temperate regions.
The Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) is a goose which breeds in Central Asia in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes and winters in South Asia, as far south as peninsular India. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest.