Learning from the Geese

I just love this time of year in Eureka… Throughout February and March, literally tens of thousands of once endangered Aleutian Geese stop by on their migration back North to Alaska. I understand the annual Morning Fly-Off at the the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is quite a sight to see as flock after flock take flight from the grassy fields.

While I have not actually yet made it to the 6:30 a.m. gathering, I get plenty of pleasure just watching and listening to the flocks fly overhead from the fields in Eureka to the Arcata Bottoms and back every day to feed. Soon they will be well fed and energized for their long flight ahead. From here they will fly for thousands of miles to their home in Alaska without stopping to rest.

Now, I’m obviously no birder. But who could not enjoy waking to the distant sound of honking geese as they pass overhead. And the sight of so many huge flocks flying overhead is enough to impress anyone! Do you know why geese fly in formation the way they do?

No, their V-shaped flock is not an example of leadership and gagle hierarchy. It is, rather, a perfect example of teamwork in action. Birds immediately behind the leader take advantage of the updraft caused by the goose in front. Those behind them, do the same, and so on, and so on. When the leader tires it will work its way back through the flock as a goose from the rear will replace it in front.

Is it your time to take the lead?

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