It has been said that geese honk while in their formation to encourage the lead goose, for it is that one goose that bears the brunt of the work. What work – just flying is work in itself! The point goose is breaking the air surface and thereby spreading the air current outward. Each goose after the point goose has a lesser degree of air surface to break and makes it a bit easier for them to maintain flight. When the lead goose gets tired he falls to the back of the formation and another goose steps up (or flies up at the case may be). That’s what all the honking is about – working as a team, cheering each other on, sharing the work for the better of the group.
There is so much to learn from such a simple gesture. It goes beyond teamwork and beyond encouragement and it is all natural. They ‘get it’. There is nothing selfish or mean spirited in their quest to get from point A to point B. They don’t secretly wish for one of their feathered mates to fall from the sky so they can get a good laugh from it. They are just honestly praising the hard work and perseverance they are experiencing. What a great concept!
For me, listening to the geese is so self-indulgent I almost feel badly; they bring such a smile to my face while they are working so hard to stay aloft. HONK HONK