Working together and sharing a common directionI Many large birds, such as geese and pelicans, fly together in V-formation. By flying in V-formation, the birds flying in front create an updraft for the ones that are following. In this way, birds reduce power demands and spend less energy on their long flights. Pelicans flying in a V-formation can glide for extended periods using the other birds’ air streams. Geese flying in a V-formation can travel up to 70 percent further than when flying alone. On long flights, the goose flying in front of the formation will eventually drop back to take a lower place in the V where the flying is easier. Then, another goose will take over the front position. Flying in V-formation also enables geese to monitor each other and provide help when necessary. If one goose drops out of the formation completely, for being sick or whatever reason, at least two of the other geese also drop out to help and to protect the ailing one. Geese communicate when they fly and, as far as we know, geese can make at least ten different calls. They alert each other regularly and they “honk” to indicate that it is time for a rest. They “honk” to their companions about likely landing locations and they “honk” to warn each other of potential danger (Muna & Mansour, 2005). One could say that flying together in a common direction is what makes geese and pelicans arrive at destinations out of reach for any bird travelling on its own.
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