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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Tourism Chilliwack rolls out mobile visitors’ centre in an RV called Winston

Part of an innovative recovery plan following the hit local tourism has taken from COVID-19

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

June weather was mostly rainy and cool across Chilliwack

June rainfall total was 83.1 mm close to a normal amount but over more days than usual

UPDATE: Military reservist facing 22 charges after allegedly ramming gates at Rideau Hall

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read