Why do birds fly in V-shape formation?

Posted on Posted in Interesting Facts

Hello folks!! How are u doing?? Well this time I’m back with an strange thing that I have been noticing from last few days. These days I used to go to my terrace to spend some time in watching beautiful evening scenes, may be a beautiful sunset that can make your whole day worth it. I don’t have any words to explain that immense pleasure of watching birds flying all around in the evening sky. From the last few days, I kept on watching birds flying in different formations on their way to home I guess or may be somewhere else and such thing will give rise to a strange question in my mind; Why do birds fly in different formations???

Most of the time I saw the birds flying in V-shape formation. Is there any some great reason behind this or will it depends upon their mood after their whole day. I got amazed that such passing your free time can get you struck with such amazing mysterious thing. I am so grateful to make my free time worth it solving such mysteries. So lets find out what’s the reason behind these formations.

birds

Birds like to fly in V-shape formation because it gives them a clear line of sight ahead, especially in case of attacks. These formations also allow each bird to receive lift from the wingtip of the bird in front. Further, a 2001 study discovered that birds farther back in formations have to flap their wings less, thereby saving energy. There are two reasons birds might fly in a V formation: It may make flight easier, or they’re simply following the leader. Squadrons of planes can save fuel by flying in a V formation, and many scientists suspect that migrating birds do the same.

Just as aerodynamic estimates would predict, the birds positioned themselves to fly just behind and to the side of the bird in front, timing their wing beats to catch the uplifting eddies. When a bird flew directly behind another, the timing of the flapping reversed so that it could minimize the effects of the downdraft coming off the back of the bird’s body. Perhaps these big V formation birds can be thought of quite like an airplane with wings that go up and down. The findings likely apply to other long-winged birds, such as pelicans, storks, and geese. Smaller birds create more complex wakes that would make drafting too difficult. The researchers did not attempt to calculate the bird’s energy savings because the necessary physiological measurements would be too invasive for an endangered species. Previous studies estimate that birds can use 20% to 30% less energy while flying in a V.

Scientists do not know how the birds find that aerodynamic sweet spot, but they suspect that the animals align themselves either by sight or by sensing air currents through their feathers. Alternatively, they may move around until they find the location with the least resistance. In future studies, the researchers will switch to more common birds, such as pigeons or geese. They plan to investigate how the animals decide who sets the course and the pace, and whether a mistake made by the leader can ripple through the rest of the flock to cause traffic jams.

“It’s a pretty impressive piece of work as it is, but it does suggest that there’s a lot more to learn,” says Ty Hedrick, a biologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who studies flight aerodynamics in birds and insects. However they do it, he says, “birds are awfully good hang-glider pilots.”

5 thoughts on “Why do birds fly in V-shape formation?

  1. We were seeing this for years and years but didn’t notice this thing.
    Hats off to u bro for this strange but amazing story.

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