A large blended family of 19 geese has been sighted living in and around Sardis Park. This image by Carsten Arnold shows them swimming in the pond at the park on May 17. (Carsten Arnold photo)

VIDEO: Large goose family enjoying suburban living in Chilliwack

Chilliwack biologist explains just how unusual family with at least 17 goslings can be

Some families just keep on growing.

And that’s exactly what’s happened to a family of geese who live around Sardis Park in Chilliwack this spring. The unusually large family of 19 geese have been noticed by bird watchers and park goers alike. That’s two adults, and 17 goslings.

The geese were out for a stroll along Manuel Road earlier this week, when they cautiously crossed Sheffield Way to get back to the park. Their travels crossed paths with Chilliwack photographer Carsten Arnold and his wife, who were out for the evening at the Sardis Park Eco Market.

“It was so cute,” Arnold says, and he grabbed a quick video of the family hustling across the crosswalk, and into the grass beside him.

READ MORE: Photographing pieces of Chilliwack’s heritage

Geese are a daily sight in the area, and regular drivers in the area know to keep a watchful eye even on busy Vedder Road, where the birds cross to a sanctuary on the other side. But what’s unusual about this family is the size.

Canada geese don’t have clutches of 17 eggs. So where did the others come from? The Progress called up Gord Gadsden, a biologist who works for the Fraser Valley Regional District in Chilliwack who studies birds.

Sure enough, he was familiar with the family, and has a few theories.

“What can happen with the geese families, is a family will inherit other geese families’ goslings,” he says. “If you look closely at these large families, and I’ve seen them over 20, you can see slight size differences in the goslings.”

He said it’s very likely that a few of the local parent geese were killed either by cars or by predators. But he adds that these goslings are very lucky to have adoptive parents. Because geese aren’t always accommodating. In fact, they will often shun goslings who come to their group.

“When a little gosling gets abandoned, it hopefully is taken in but not all adult geese are accepting,” Gadsden says. “In some situations, and it’s hard to know what’s going on in their brains, is a little one sneaks in and they don’t realize their family has grown by a bit.”

But once they’re in, they’re in, he says.

Some species of birds will naturally babysit for other adults, “but that’s not what happens with geese,” he says.

He guesses that the family is a blend of three “clutches,” which are normally about eight to 10 eggs.

“Mama goose can’t fit much more underneath her more than that,” he says. “All the nests I’ve observed have been in the realm of eight eggs, so for them to be 19 it has to be a blend of for sure three different families.”

Arnold, who happily shared his video and a photograph of the same family from a few weeks ago, said he’s noticed that most drivers are really careful about slowing down for the geese. Others may not realize the area is filled with creeks and greenspace where the geese nest and eat.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Add flavour to your weekend with the Chilliwack Garlic Festival

The annual garlicky event runs Saturday and Sunday at Fantasy Farms

Fleeing helicopter that landed in Chilliwack part of major cross-border drug bust: documents

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vedder Rotary trail network in Chilliwack will be closed for five days on the south side

The upgrade will take until Friday so trail users asked to take alternate routes

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

UPDATE: RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read