Why Do Migratory Birds Fly In A V-Formation?
The linear flight formations of migratory birds are called echelons. V and the J patterns are very recognizable, though other variations also occur.
Birds fly in formation for two basic reasons. One is that the following birds conserve energy by taking advantage of the “upwash” created by the wings of the birds in front, allowing them to fly efficiently. The other is that the formation facilitates both orientation and communication among the birds.
In order to continue to study them while underway, scientists have trained birds to fly in formation alongside small aircraft. Who knows what more we have to learn?
Source: Scientific American
Photo Courtesy of Janine Parziale