Canadian geese are so wonderful. Every time I see them, I stop to gawk because I love them. I love their crazy-ass shapes, with one giant oval teetering on spindly, whacked-out legs and holding up a giraffe neck and a beak that says HONK! Jesus. What is there not to love?
I’ve always loved animals, but never considered myself an “animal lover”, (does that make sense?) and I figured out recently it’s because I just love to look at them. The shapes and lines and mannerisms and all. If it weren’t incredibly frowned upon to love zoos, I would tell you how much I adore zoos. And aquariums. How can you tear your eyes away from the seahorses? Those things are crazy.
But back to geese. It turns out there’s more to love about them than their good looks.
When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow.
By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock adds 72% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.The geese flying formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Aren’t they simply magnificent? All encouraging and caring and sciencey.
Bonus Story: When Fen was 1, I was holding her on my hip in a Starbucks, waiting for my drink, and we were gazing out the window. Suddenly, she yelled, GEEEEE! HONK HONK HONK! because she had spied a gaggle. That’s when I knew I would keep her.