There’s a method to the madness of the “V” formation, or so I’ve been told. Lead bird switches out from time to time, and I think there’s a “drafting” element, too. Update: Bruce Batt, chief biologist for the conservation group Ducks Unlimited, says the linear flight formations of migratory birds are called echelons. There are two well-supported and complementary explanations for why birds fly in formation. One is to conserve energy by taking advantage of the upwash vortex fields created by the wings of the birds in front. The other is to facilitate orientation and communication among the birds.
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