Bird Brains – Geese Lessons

Bird Brains – Geese Lessons

Lately, the nights have been loud with katydids and I’ve been grabbing a sweatshirt for my morning walks. Fall is definitely in the air. The geese flocks in our nearby ponds are getting restless, somehow sensing the southward journey. As the days become shorter, instinctively they’ll know it’s time to migrate.

We’re all familiar with the breathtaking sight of a flock of geese winging overhead in that “V” formation but did you know that it is a pretty perfect example of teamwork?

Scroll through for a complete look.

Go out to an area where geese are present. Typically a wide-open space near a body of water. Observe the geese and their behavior. When you see a flock flying in the “V” formation, think of these lessons and the questions you can ask your kids as you watch and observe.

Fact:

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the other birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock creates 70% less drag than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: Teamwork

By working together at a problem or towards a goal we can pool our energies and talents and accomplish more than if we were on our own. Ask your child about an activity they could get done faster when working as a team.

Fact:

When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow down to help protect it. They stay with the goose until it is able to fly again, or dies. Then together they find another formation, or they catch up with their flock.

Lesson: Empathy

It is important to stand by and support one another in both good and difficult times. Ask your child about a time they helped someone else who was having a tough time.

Fact:

When the goose in the front position gets tired, it rotates all the way to the back of the formation and another goose flies to the front to lead the flock.

Lesson: Sharing

It helps when we all share the position of leading. We all have different skills and attributes and taking turns is the best way to highlight every person’s unique qualities. Ask your child what qualities they possess that are unique to them.

Fact:

A flock of geese can be a noisy bunch. They all honk to encourage the geese ahead of them to keep up their speed. They are constantly supporting one another by their calls.

Lesson: Encouragement

Everyone can benefit from a little encouragement! It feels good to hear someone say, “nice job” or “keep it up” when we’re working hard at something. Ask your child about a time they felt proud of something they accomplished and if someone recognized their hard work.


This article is adapted from Lessons From the Geese, written by Dr. Robert McNeish.

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