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In V-Shaped Flight Formation

02/12/20
Pink-footed Goose © David Tipling 2020VISION

Many of you have reported the loud honking calls of pink-footed geese as they mark their winter arrival, feeding on our wetland and farmland habitats.

Large flocks (or 'skeins') have already been spotted flying over the Ridge in their characteristic 'V-Shaped Flight Formation'.

Arriving from Greenland and Iceland, up to 360,000 pink-footed geese spend the winter here in the UK, making it a really important destination for this bird.

The pink-footed goose is a medium-sized goose with a short pink and black beak and pink feet. It has a grey-brown body and wings and darker brown head.

Members of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the headquarters of whom are located at Bickley Hall Farm, have already counted several thousand arrivals.

But why do these geese fly in 'V-Shape Formation'? The most likely explanation for this behaviour is that this formation reduces the energy used to fly. Each bird can effectively 'ride' the air that passes the wings of the bird in front, which gives it a slight lift. This means they don't need to use as much energy to fly and any energy they can save could make the difference between surviving a migration or not.

Each goose takes a turn at flying at the front of the Skein. But for the bird at the front of the 'V', they won't benefit. However, it's been found that each bird in the formation will take it's turn at the front of the line. If you wish to read more then a reader has included this informative link CLICK HERE.

Keep your binoculars handy everyone and enjoy the arrival of these and other birds (we understand Redwings and Fieldfares have also been spotted).

Thanks to Neil Friswell and The Cheshire Wildlife Trust — photo ¬©David Tipling/2020VISION.