Whilst working with our DofE volunteers on Bickerton Hill this week, large flocks (or 'skeins') of pink footed geese were overhead, making their distinctive honking calls and flying in their characteristic 'V-Shaped Flight Formations'.
Their arrival from Greenland and Iceland is always a sure sign that winter is ahead. Up to 360,000 pink-footed geese can spend the winter here in the UK!
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.
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.