The next time when you see geese heading north…flying along in “V” formation… you might consider why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. Flying “V” formation with the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying distance, than if each bird flew on its own! When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag of trying to go alone and quickly gets back into formation, so as to take advantage of the lifting power of all the birds in front.
When the head goose gets tired it rotates back in the formation and another goose flies at the front. The other geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Finally—and this is important—when a goose gets sick or is wounded and 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 on their own, or join another formation to catch up with their own flock.