The geese flying V formation is so efficient because the birds in the back use the air currents created by those in front of them to help them fly. This allows the whole flock to travel further and conserves energy.
Geese travel in family groups within larger flocks. The V shape helps them conserve energy which then allows them to fly longer. Each bird flies slightly higher than the bird in front of them. This formation helps reduce the amount of wind resistance so less energy is spent.
The birds take turns in the front, when one goose gets tired. This way, the geese can fly long distances before stopping for rest.
When a goose gets sick while in flight, two other geese will break away with the sick bird and stay with it until it recovers and is able to fly again or when it dies. (birdsandwetlands.com)
We had ample opportunity to see these formations at Scarborough Bluffs this morning.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. – Mary Oliver