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Canada goslings hatch for the first time at Lake Murray

Goslings at Lake Murray
Goslings at Lake Murray
Darlene Luckins

Six Canada goose goslings have made their debut at Lake Murray in San Diego for the first time ever. The six babies were first seen about a week ago and may have just hatched a few days before that. About two months ago, a female Canada goose could be seen on a nest in the reeds near the northern side of the lake. However, about a month ago, the nest was abandoned and the female disappeared with no signs of any chicks. Then, last week, she was spotted with her mate and their brood in between them. Recently, they have brought their brood to the picnic area where the goslings have been feeding on grass.

Lake Murray has had two or three resident Canada geese, living among the resident domestic geese, for years. They were most likely descended from non-migratory geese released decades ago when Canada geese numbers were critically low. Or, they were recently raised domestic Canada geese that were released. Last fall, five new Canada geese arrived at the lake and one pair began nesting early in the spring. It appears that their first nest may have failed, but their second nest, apparently, has hatched healthy babies.

It’s not the first time that the lake has had baby geese. Several domestic goslings were hatched many years ago and have lived there ever since. Most of them were hybrids between domestic swan and greylag geese. Recently, many of those domestic geese have passed away due to unknown reasons or old age.

This is possibly the first time that wild geese have hatched at the lake. It is unusual that Canada geese breed in southern California because they are considered to be migratory in this area. However, in recent decades, breeding Canada geese have become more common. It is unknown if these goslings will remain at the lake when grown, or migrate with the migratory geese in the fall.