Stories tagged geese

Oct
02
2007

Geese flying in a "V": Image courtesy Greg7 via Flickr.
Geese flying in a "V": Image courtesy Greg7 via Flickr.
The University of Minnesota is conducting a new campaign called “Driven to Discover”. While new ad campaigns are not typical fodder for a current science web site, this particular campaign is interesting in that it is featuring some of the current research taking place at the University of Minnesota and answers questions like, “When will it be possible for human beings to fly?” and “My dog exhibits strange behavior shortly before a thunderstorm begin. Can dogs sense a change in weather?

One current question that I often wondered: Why do ducks and geese fly in a “V” formation is a recently answered question.

These birds are just doing the avian equivalent of a NASCAR driver’s slipstreaming (or drafting). Geese and ducks are relatively large birds, and they affect the air they fly through just as a race car does. Each bird creates a slight uplift at the tips of their wings during flight. By flying behind and slightly above another bird’s wing tip, birds experience an updraft. These trailing birds gain an advantage and expend less energy than they would if they were flying by themselves. Studies have shown that a bird in a flock flying the same speed as a bird flying alone flaps its wings half as often.

Scott Lanyon, Director, Bell Museum of Natural History and Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior.

Check out the current and older campaign to see some of the really interesting questions people asked. You can even sign up for a monthly newsletter featuring this information. It’s fun reading.

Mar
29
2007

Your goose is cooked!: Photo by lisso at flickr.com
Your goose is cooked!: Photo by lisso at flickr.com

The city of Chicago is looking for volunteers to go on a wild goose chase. The city has been plagued for over a decade by an ever-growing flock of Canadian geese. The birds have virtually taken over some city parks, harassing users and covering the ground with their droppings.

The city wants volunteers to find goose eggs during the nesting season. Then, wildlife control experts will shake the eggs to destroy the embryos. The geese will continue to incubate the eggs (and not lay new ones), but no goslings will hatch. Experts claim this is a more humane form of animal control than rounding up wild geese and killing them.