Give Me the Simple Life: Flying in V-Formation


As the seasons are changing, have you noticed any migrating birds flying overhead in the V-formation? In my neck of the woods, I’ve seen quite a few ducks and geese lately. The migration of birds fascinate me–how do they know it’s time to hit the skies . . . and how do they know where to go? And the V-formation . . . what an amazing feat of nature!

Being a closet birder (something that mortifies my children), I’ve done a little research on the topic and discovered a few interesting facts about the V-formation:

This formation conserves energy. The geese face less wind resistance, receiving a boost of air waves from those flying in front. The farther back a goose is in formation, the less energy it needs in the flight. Bicyclists borrow this concept as “drafting.” It creates a wind tunnel and can reduce a bicyclist’s workload by up to 30 percent. For birds in the V-formation, it increases efficiency and range by as much as 71 percent.

An additional benefit to the V-formation is that it’s easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason. When a goose tires or drops out, another one or two fly down with it, keeping it company until it’s ready to resume the flight. The geese are keeping a close eye on the gaggle.

A gaggle of geese in V-formation, to us non-feathered types, is a perfect metaphor for community.

We need each other: for encouragement, advice, attention, even sharing a laugh. We need to take care of all the geese in our gaggle.

What do you consider to be your “gaggle?” Neighbors? Friends? Or do you depend on family?

And if you don’t have a gaggle, consider joining a small group at your church. Whenever my husband’s company transferred us to a new state (or country), I found joining a small group to be one of the very best ways to find a gaggle.

There is strength, efficiency, power, harmony, simplicity, rhythm, agility, and magnificence in the V-formation of geese. Mother Nature has given us a beautiful lesson: Everybody needs a gaggle.

Congratulations to the winner of last Tuesday’s giveaway, JULIE SUNNE! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


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