Effective Teams in Nature

Posted on Tue July 16, 2013.

Effective Teams in Nature

Why is it that we quite often to a person who does stupid things as a “bird brain”. Birds may have small brains, but they’ve certainly learned the benefits of working in a team much better than many people have.

Haven’t you ever seen a flock of geese flying south for winter (or north for the summer)?

I’m sure you all were all able to figure out that flying in a “V” pattern was the most efficient way to travel, but did you know it was THIS efficient????


As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if one bird flew alone. 


Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. 


When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position. 


The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. 


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

So what can we learn from our feathered friends.

1) If we are all headed to the same destination, we can all get that a lot faster and with much less effort if we all work together.

2) It’s a lot tougher to go it alone. If you really want to get there don’t be afraid to accept help from others, but when it’s your turn to lead, step up and show your strength.

3) Don’t be afraid to show your voice and encourage others. We all gain strength from the support of others. If a few well placed “honks” or pats on the back helps somebody tow the line longer, in the end your job will be easier.

4) If a team member struggles or falters, don’t drop him and leave him for the wolves. Break off from the team and bring your team mate back up to speed to allow him to rejoin in the effort. 

Stay tuned for more fun facts on “teams” of wolves, musk ox and sled dogs!

By Mike Caldwell