Why Birds Fly In A V Shape

It takes energy for a bird to fly, obviously. Often you can see birds flying high in a circular pattern. But they really aren't flying so much as gliding. They are up that high and flying in that pattern because of the air current. They will rise with the updraft and glide down on the currents. This way, they are using very little energy. They can stay up there for hours and not tire.
This is similar to why a flock of birds will fly in a V shape. The lead bird is doing most of the work. It is the one that is cutting through the air and causing currents - sort of like a boat causing a wake in water.
The current spreads out diagonally for the bird which is why the other birds will be following in the V pattern. They are simply riding the current created by the lead bird. In doing this, the other birds conserve energy as they can glide part of their flight as opposed to outright flying the entire distance.
You will also have noticed the birds change positions often. This is so the same bird isn't up front doing all the work. They will rotate, giving all the birds a chance to take it easy and glide along.
Even without being able to understand mathematics birds have figured out physics... at least a small part.
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Sep 21, 2012