Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flying Geese

There is a lake near our home and we often see geese flying in formation over the woods across from the balcony. Every once in a while, J has pondered why they fly the way they do. Each time, I have said I don't know why but we can look it up. Inevitably, the business of the day gets in the way and the birds are forgotten once they are out of sight.

In the absence of a good scientific explanation, J has used her imagination to fill the gap - the leader bird knows the way and so they have the central position in the pattern. If everyone lines up behind the leader then they can't see the path they are supposed to take very well - the V helps by giving everyone a clear line of sight. That is J's theory but she is not fully satisfied with it. I finally found the time to look it up like I have always promised to.

She got some of it right apparently - there is indeed a leader and communication between the birds is enabled by the V formation. As a parent, I am always trying to find the correct answers to her questions - often over zealously I may add. It is as if I would be doing her the greatest disservice by not doing so - shirking my responsibilty as a parent. While I need not know the answer, I feel I am required to make every effort to find one out. Yet, when I let things slide, J was able to piece parts of the puzzle together even if it was not complete or correct. Perhaps I should let more of the questions answer themselves without any help from me.

1 comment:


Aerodynamics plays a significant role in their formations. They are known to rotate positions as well. The ones in the front bear the brunt of the head wind while others face it much lesser. As their journey proceeds, the tired birds go backwards and the ones in the back come to the fore and take the lead. Amazing stuff isn't it?