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Old Nov 30, 2008, 5:43 PM   #1
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There was a lot of commotion out in the rice fields this morning when I was with my falconing buddy. Most of it came from geese and the rest from a large gathering of swans and sandhill cranes. I got a couple of pictures as various groups flew overhead going from rice field to rice field and back again. Here are two suggested by Penolta.
Thanks Penolta, for viewing my gallery.

First the Sandhill cranes.

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Old Nov 30, 2008, 5:43 PM   #2
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2nd. A group of swans.

BTW, does anyone know the reason why one side of the V in a flock of flying swans, ducks or geese is shorter than the other? Let's see how smart you all are. :lol:

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Old Nov 30, 2008, 10:56 PM   #3
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smac wrote:
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BTW, does anyone know the reason why one side of the V in a flock of flying swans, ducks or geese is shorter than the other?┬*
Or why there is a V at all?

Or why they change leaders after a while? :?:
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Old Nov 30, 2008, 11:40 PM   #4
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penolta wrote:
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smac wrote:
Quote:
BTW, does anyone know the reason why one side of the V in a flock of flying swans, ducks or geese is shorter than the other?
Or why there is a V at all?

Or why they change leaders after a while? :?
this is only pure speculation on my part but there has to be an aerodynamic advantage to flying in a V formation. just like in cycling, each cyclist drafts behind the front guy in a staggered formation in order to cut down on wind resistance. this might also explain why the birds change leaders. in cycling, everyone takes turn blocking wind for the rest of the group. again this is all pure speculation on my part. hehe

- hung
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Old Dec 1, 2008, 12:19 AM   #5
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Close, Hung, but it is more aerodynamic than drafting. As you suggest, the leader is breaking trail like a lead sled dog, and tires more quickly than the followers. There is a vortex formed at each wing tip, that spirals outward behind it. The bird immediately behind rides on the upward flowing side of the vortex and gains lift with less expenditure of energy. The next bird rides on his vortex, and so on down the line. There is no need for each leg of the vee to be the same length, nor is there a need for a vee at all - geese often fly in a line off one of the leader's vortices = I imagine it is just a matter of which side a bird comes in to join up, latching on to the nearest bird on the end of the formation - sometimes in a large formation, one will come in on the inside of the vee and start a branch leg.

Watch the pelicans in flight - when the leader stops to rest and sails along, each bird behind sequentially stops flapping and sails too. When the leader starts flapping again, each in turn behind him begins, too. The vortices behind a sailing (or soaring) bird are more efficient for others to soar on, because they are steady and no energy is expended for flapping (until momentum is lost and flapping is again required).

Flights of military aircraft fly in similar formations, too - but carefully. Right after the 911 incident a jet liner got too close behind another, became caught in its turbulence, and crashed into a community on Long Island in New York; there have been other such incidents, too.
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Old Dec 1, 2008, 11:52 AM   #6
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After such an excellent discussion of flight theory and aerodynamics I hate to spoil the scientific direction of this thread.

However, the answer to my original question " Why is one side of the V formation of a group of flying ducks, geese, swans shorter than the other" is........ what for it...... Less birds.

My apologies I couldn't help it. :roll:
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Old Dec 1, 2008, 12:06 PM   #7
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smac wrote:
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the answer to my original question " Why is one side of the V formation of a group of flying ducks, geese, swans shorter than the other" ┬* is........ what┬* for it...... Less birds.

My apologies I couldn't help it. :roll:
I know. It's that time of the year. Kept me up past my bedtime, too. . . .
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