PhysLink.com Logo
Black Friday Sale 2017 - Educational Gifts and Toys
Black Friday Sale 2017 - Educational Gifts and Toys

Question

Why do birds fly in formation shaped like the alphabet'V'? Which bird works the hardest in such a formation and why?
Asked by: Suma

Answer

The bird in the lead (at the forward point of the 'V' formation) is working the hardest by being the first to 'break through' the air, which is offering resistance to its flight. Just as a boat leaves a V-shaped wake of smoother water behind it, the lead bird leaves a V-shaped wake of slightly 'smoother' air behind it (actually the lead bird creates a trail of air turbulence that helps lift along the V-shaped direction), and it is a bit easier for the other birds to fly in the wake of the lead bird. If you watch a V-formation carefully, you'll notice that the lead bird does not stay in that position for very long and will drop back into the formation, while another, not-as-tired bird takes the lead, breaking through the air first.
Answered by: Greg Armbruster, Amateur Bird Enthusiast


Science Quote

'My scientific work is motivated by an irresistible longing to understand the secrets of nature and by no other feelings.'

Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)


All rights reserved. © Copyright '1995-'2017 PhysLink.com