Many birds are known to fly in a V formation, and scientists have wondered why. It is possible that they do so to save fuel by flying in a V formation, but scientists don’t know exactly how birds do it. One way scientists think they understand how birds fly in this formation is by studying them in extreme close-up. For example, ibises carefully position their wingtips to sync flapping. By doing this, they catch updrafts from the bird preceding them, saving energy for later flight.
The first study showed that the V formation helps birds save energy. Pelicans had lower heart rates while in formation, which means they were using less energy. Researchers then studied the northern bald ibis to understand how they conserved energy while in flight. They concluded that these birds are less likely to have a high heart rate when in a V formation than solo birds. In the future, scientists will use similar techniques to measure birds’ heart rates and learn how much energy the V formation saves.
Several researchers have studied birds in flight and have concluded that the V shape of the wings makes the flight simpler and more efficient. In other words, birds in flight use less energy than other species. And the V shape allows them to save a great deal of energy compared to flying straight. As a result, this form of flight is an important part of bird migration. In fact, it has a huge impact on how birds breed, feed, and avoid predators.