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Geese out of formation

 9:38 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I saw something really odd last week, and I've been asking about it. No one knows anything...

To start, I actually heard an odd noise, sort of a fluttering/purring sound. "What in the world?", I asked myself. Rather than answer, looked around for the source of the noise. Finally, looking upward, I saw a formation of geese directly overhead. However, they were not in the typical V formation - these geese were flying in a circle. This odd behavior continued for at least five minutes, and they made that flutter sound the entire time; nary a honk to be heard.

Suddenly, they resumed the V-formation and began to honk their way to where ever it is that geese over Atlanta will go. Seconds later, a rather low airliner came into view as it ascended into the afternoon sky. This plane (jet) was certainly higher than those geese, but lower than most that I notice flying overhead.

So, what's with the odd behavior and noises? Does anyone have a definitive answer? I might even accept wild guesses....



 9:54 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

A fowl version of a Chinese fire drill?


 11:58 pm on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Heard the plane...feared for their lives and got the flock outta there.


 3:33 am on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

typically they will gather in a circle as the flock is getting airborne and gain some altitude before they head out in formation.
otherwise the trailers would never catch up with the formation.
(too much air resistance going solo.)

not sure about the sound...


 3:33 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

> Heard the plane...feared for their lives and got the flock outta there.


Oooh! You owe me a tea, keyboard, monitor, chair & bandages for the sprained wrist! :)


 8:21 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)



 8:51 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Was there a water body they were trying to land on but they got spooked?

I see Canada Geese all the time but I have never seen them flying in a circle, that is strange.


 10:00 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Geese honk to "cheer on" the goose in the front of the V, who's got the toughest job. So no reason to honk when they're just milling around.

As for where geese in Atlanta might fly to, I'm guessing they flew up here to Pennsylvania to use the potty.


 10:06 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Was there a water body they were trying to land on but they got spooked?

I thought about that. The roof of the building will collect water, and then it drips into the warehouse for days. As far as I know we had no water on the roof that afternoon. I don't believe there is any sizable body of water nearby, maybe I'll have a look at a map.

no reason to honk when they're just milling around

Milling around,sounding like tribbles. We're back to square one.


 4:58 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds like the goose in front took them way off course and they were holding a primary to see if the melanistic gander or the rather severe goose would take the lead.


 6:59 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Whats sauce to the goose is sauce to the gander!

The above has no relevance to the question just an old saying my aunt used..

Maybe they were caucusing to see who would buck the head wind?

PS Grandpa, What are you doing in Atlanta ? Thought you were in Oregon?...KF


 1:57 am on Feb 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Another thought. During WWII, warplanes would circle in the air till all planes were airborne and then they would put themselves in a formation before going off on their bombing run. Maybe they took a page out of the geese flying manual!...KF


 2:41 am on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

I suspect they found a thermal updraft and used it to gain some altitude. I saw a similar thing happen with a giant flock of sand hill cranes a few years ago. The flock stretched for miles and miles, and as soon as they reached a certain point they made a few circuits before heading along on their merry way. They may have ceased honking while riding the thermal updraft-but I couldn't tell because the ones who hadn't entered it yet (or had already left) were honking away. I actually heard them coming long before I saw them.

chasing something

 9:41 pm on Mar 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

maybe they were playing


 6:52 pm on Mar 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

maybe they were playing

It's not nice to play with my head...


 12:08 am on Mar 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think phranque had it. They circle to gain altitude and allow stragglers to catch up.

I've seen this explanation in other places on the web. As for the noises they were making... that was goosetalk for <hurry up>.

[edited by: lawman at 1:45 am (utc) on Mar. 11, 2008]
[edit reason] Edited To Conform To The "No Camo Swear Words" Rule [/edit]

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