Everyday Physics

Why do birds fly in a V-shaped formation


We have all seen how birds in the sky fly in a v-shaped formation. But the question is why do they do so?

The answer in this question lies in Physics, in the study of aerodynamics. Aerodynamics is the study of how smoothly object can move through a medium.

Birds in this formation can generally be seen to follow a set pattern wherein the lead bird flaps its wings first and then subsequently the birds behind start to flap their wings.

What is happening here is that the first bird’s flapping creates a wind backward, which is then pushed back by the other birds to accelerate them forward. The lead bird does the most work so the birds circulate the lead position so that one bird does not get tired. This way, the birds can travel longer distances without fatigue.


Even the motion of birds in the air has a Physics application and fighter jet platoons also follow the example of the birds to make flying more efficient.




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