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V-Formation

June 30, 2013

I recently observed some ducks in a pond. I found that ducks do dive, and once a duck kept me waiting for it emerge from under the water, only for it to emerge further downstream. I noticed that ducks have their feet extended behind their bodies (like lifeless sticks), having them serve as paddles. I remembered that speed boats have their propellers behind in like manner. Have the ducks copied the speed boats?? Have you ever seen a flying duck land on the water? You’d think they copied the planes: gliding as if on the runway!

A crow was on the highway a few days ago. As the car approached, it took off. I was not driving so I was able to observe again. The crow flew off  at an angle like a helicopter. And once it was off the ground, it carefully and simultaneously packed both legs away like the wheels of a plane! Did the crow observe an aircraft?

There is so much for man to learn from nature!

Migratory birds like geese and ducks fly in V-formations for definite reasons! Firstly, the v-formation reduces fatigue. The bird in front does the arduous work of “opening” the air, so to speak. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in its front, gliding on the upwash (air that is forced upwards) that starts from the  leader bird. Science says that this enables the bird team to fly 71% more than the distance each bird would have been able to fly alone! They then take turns to lead as the bird-in-front gets tired. No dictator bird insists on leading for life; no lazy bird refuses to lead.

Secondly, naturalists have observed that loners get preyed upon the quickest! There is a Nigerian adage that says that the loner lifestyle of the snake leads to its death. And if you have ever had to face a snake before, you know you won’t attempt to kill two at the same time! 🙂 The v-formation helps the birds to keep an eye on one another! And the tired or sick birds are positioned in the centre of the team. It seems to also help with communication and coordination. Fighter jets have since copied the v-formation, a.k.a skein, from the birds.

v form

The wise man who said man should go to the ant to learn conservation and investment was too right! I doubt if any animal has learnt anything from man has yet! It is man that learns from the animals.

Imagine that a particular community has to migrate seasonally. Someone suggests V-formation. Almost instantly, the design will naturally change to a W-formation, if not a WW-formation. And within hours, a Cost-Benefit Analysis would be carried out on a sick member to determine the more profitable option: dropping the sick member by the wayside, or bearing the burden of such a one.

Have you ever observed that the aggression of a dog increases when it’s at home in its territory? Have you ever seen a cat knock on the door to enter a house before? Why do some trees bow before the wind and others do not? The next time you see a bird, a goat, a cat, a falling leaf, or you hear the whistling in the trees, take a second look. Is there a new lesson? Or has a lesson been taken from it already?

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3 Comments
  1. Iranwo permalink

    Tnx!

    Like

  2. Well said…
    I like

    Like

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