Landing Sequence


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The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is known for its birds, specifically the massive flocks of sandhill cranes and snow geese that winter there. Crowds of people gather in the pre dawn hour to watch the “fly out,” in which thousands of birds take off all at once. This is a sight that is awe-inspiring to be sure.

But what happens when the birds land?

They do not, as a rule land all together, instead landing either by themselves or in very small groups. One by one, two by two, they spread their wings wide to slow down, extend their feet and drift ever so gracefully and gently to the ground as if gravity simply wasn’t there.

This whimsical sequence shows four such snow geese drifting in for a landing into a flock. They each seemed to be on the exact same flight path, and they each landed right next to one another in the end. But for the brief moment just before touchdown, they demonstrated for all to see an absolutely perfect landing sequence.

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