Flying in Formation

Today I learned a lesson about living in community from the habits of geese.

When geese are migrating and fly in a “V” formation, they are working together in many ways. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird directly following it.

Birds can increase their flying range by 71 percent simply by flying together! People who share a common direction and sense of community can also get where they are going more quickly when they travel on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it will suddenly feel the drag and resistance of trying to fly by itself, and it quickly gets back into formation with the lifting power of the bird in front. When the front goose gets tired, it will rotate to the back and another goose will take a turn at being at the point. It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs and sharing the load.

The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. We all need encouragement.

When a goose gets sick or is wounded or falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies. Only then do they launch out again. If we would have the sense of a goose, we would stand by each other as well.

Group of Canadian geese flying in V-formation over sunburst


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