SARASOTA, FL—Telling reporters his hard work, tenacity, and dedication to the flock had at long last paid off, a local goose confirmed Monday he had finally landed the lead spot at the tip of the “V.”
Sources confirmed the giant Canada goose, who has reportedly been eyeing a position at the front of the flight formation since his very first migration, has shown great promise in his six years with the flock, slowly moving up from his initial posting on the left side of the V at the very back.
“It’s a tremendous honor to take on this new role, and I’m more than ready for the responsibility it entails,” said the goose, who later admitted he had begun to wonder if his migratory talents would ever be fully recognized. “It’s all about keeping a tight formation. You have to know when it’s time to glide and when it’s time to flap. At this point, I can practically fly the route with my eyes closed. Plus, I know all the best ponds between here and Nova Scotia.”
“To be honest, some of my predecessors in this role were not prepared for it,” the 12-pound waterfowl added. “We actually had one who flew us directly into the sights of a hunting party and almost got us all killed.”
While stressing that he was proud of his journey to the V’s tip, the goose conceded there were times over the years when he had been forced to “keep [his] bill shut” and watch as younger, less-skilled geese were promoted ahead of him. As recently as 2015, he was still flying what he described as dead-end assignments in the middle of the formation. The goose remarked that during this period, he was “feeling pretty check out” and spent several migration cycles just going through the motions of flapping and honking.
According to the goose, his lowest point came after he was passed over for a plum position as second-on-the-right, losing out to an inexperienced rival whose uncle was then heading the flock. He said he had assumed he would be a shoo-in for the job after he had won the approval of his fellow geese by spotting, from 3,000 feet above, a group of Binghamton, NY school children handing out bread crumbs in a local park. Feeling that his efforts were going unappreciated by his superiors, the goose reportedly considered quitting altogether and starting a gaggle of his own out in California.
Now that his fortunes have changed, the goose said he was glad he chose to stick it out, though he acknowledged the new position comes with its share of challenges.
“When you’re the one who calls the shots, everyone comes to you with their complaints,” he said. “I’ve been doing this less than a week, and I’ve already had three separate geese griping in my ear about how they’re not getting enough updraft off the bird in front of them. And yesterday, when we hit a snowstorm, half the flock was grumbling about it. I’m like, ‘Hey guys, I’m not in control of the weather,’ but do you think they listen? No. They’d rather just bitch about it.”
“At the same time, if I’m not on their asses all the time about staying in line, our formation gets all wavy and U-shaped, and nobody wants that,” the goose continued. “Sometimes being in charge means you have to be the bad guy.”
The member of the Branta canadensis species went on to state that he is eager to implement many of the ideas he has for improving the block’s migratory habits—such as heading south a few weeks earlier each year and increasing altitude to add more coasting opportunities—as he believes his innovations could greatly improve the efficiency with which the flock operates.
However, some flock members have expressed misgivings about the new bird occupying the tip of their V, with one goose saying she fears he lacks the instincts necessary for the top position.
“He’s a great goose, but I’m just not sure he has the temperament you need to be an effective leader,” she told reporters. “Once he’s gone up against a few bad headwinds, he may realize he’s just not cut out for this.”
“After all, he wouldn’t have gotten this job in the first place if the three guys in front of him hadn’t been sucked into the engine of a passenger jet,” she added.