Wednesday, 7th January 2009 by

“Flocking” is the term used to describe the collective motion of a number of creatures, and is best known as something that birds do together. So much so that the collective noun for birds is of course “flock”.

A group of birds are technically flocking even when they’re not flying. Here on Lewis and Clark Lake, Missouri, we can see a huge flock of geese just resting on the water.

While flocks of birds in themselves aren’t a rarity on Google Earth (just find any fishing boat), in the nearly 4 years since we last featured a “flock of birds in flight”, we haven’t seen that many other sightings of migratory birds travelling in their trademark “V” formations.

They are still occasionally seen however, as here in the Netherlands, and to be honest I feel there’s very little else quite so strikingly simple and pleasing to be seen anywhere on Google Earth.

Here’s another smaller flock flying near Toulouse, France.

Known as “echelons”, these amazing “V” formations are actually better described as “J” formations, because they’re much more likely to be unevenly balanced – as demonstrated in this absolutely stunning image captured over the fields of Arkansas.

These transitory sightings don’t hang around very long (they often disappear during in Google’s image updates), however the geese we posted in 2005 are still visible today, as is the incredible Feeding Frenzy off the coast of South Africa that we posted about in 2007.

Thanks to Eric Alberts and VGT.