The Sense of a Goose


As I was clearing out some papers from my corporate office a few weeks ago, I came across a copy of a story titled The Sense of a Goose. I am not sure who the original author was, but I did find a few different renditions when I googled “Goose Formations”.

Living in an area in Minnesota populated by Canadian Geese… and when I say populated, I mean HEAVILY populated. There are so many geese on the paved city trail by my home, walking on the trail is like maneuvering a land-mine area. One must be extremely careful to not step on their little “presents” they leave littered all over the trail. I find it funny that we dog owners are so particular about picking up our doggies’ “doo”, yet the geese leave far more waste than our dogs… oops, sorry, I digressed for a minute there…

Back to the story of the Goose that I wanted to share…

Next Spring when you see geese heading back north for the summer, flying along in a V-formation, you might be interested in knowing what scientists have discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. Basic Truth #1: People who share a common direction and sense of communication get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the trust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds immediately in front. Basic Truth #2: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.

When the lead goose gets tired, the goose rotates to the back and another goose flies the point. Basic Truth #3: It pays to take turns doing hard jobs with people or with geese flying north.

The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Basic Truth #4: We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.

Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot or falls out, two geese fly out of formation to help and protect it. They stay with the goose until it is either able to fly or until it is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their flock. Final Truth #5: If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other.


This little story speaks volumes on how we should “be” with our flock… whether at work, at home, or at play…

Trust each other.

Support one another.

Be kind and encourage each other.

Stand behind each other in honor.

What is one of your favorite stories that speaks volumes to you?


Pat Sheveland


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