Lesson from the Geese

An anthology of inspirational material, for use in putting together "Scouts Own" ceremonies

compiled by:
Neil Savage
Exeter, New Hampshire
Digital Equipment Corporation
Maynard, Massachusetts

Have you ever wondered why migrating geese fly in V formation? As with most animal behaviour, it shows us a valuable principle of mutual aid.

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in their V-group formation, the whole flock adds more flying range than if each bird flew alone.

When a goose falls out of foundation, it suddenly feels the resistance and quickly gets back in to take advantage of that lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point. The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two others drop out of formation and follow to help and protect. They stay until the ailing member is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out, either on their own, with another group, or to catch up with the flock.

- from Initiative, a newsletter for self-help groups published by the Canadian Council on Social Development.