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I have noticed that many of the geese in my region (NE US) remain overwinter. I also see many of what I guess (but am not sure) may be the same geese flying in migration patterns. One thing that makes me think that non migrating geese do this, is that I observe group formations flying in all directions, not just southwards in the fall.

Does anyone know whether the resident geese still like to fly in migration patterns, or is it always the migrating geese that you see doing this?

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The answer is yes, also sedentary geese do use migration patterns (V-formations). When they move from roosting place to feeding areas (or vice versa) geese always tend to fly in formations. I speak for personal experience of resident and wintering birds in Europe and America.

They do so because they save energy as explained here: http://jeb.biologists.org/content/128/1/445.short and here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v413/n6857/full/413697a0.html

The second study also show how not all the positions in the formation are the same regarding energy expenditure. The one closer to the front of the V shape need to flap the wing more often.

Have fun

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