A Reminder to Respect and Protect Wildlife in our Parks this Spring

Monday, April 22, 2024

As signs of spring appear in the woodlands and in the parks, the Naperville Park District reminds park visitors to be aware of the needs of birds and other wildlife that are nesting or raising their young.

Spring is nesting time for geese, who become protective of their mates and young. Signs that a goose is protecting its territory include:

. Warning call

. Spreading its wings

. Hissing sounds

. Confronting people or animals that come near their nest or their mate

. Lowering its head

When walking in a park, try to stay away from protective geese. Learn more about Canada Geese at www.flightcontrol.20com/learn-more/about-canada-geese/.

Another animal to watch for in the spring is the turtle. In springtime, female aquatic turtles leave the water to find a suitable spot to lay their eggs. The most common aquatic turtles in our parks are painted turtles, red-eared sliders, and common snapping turtles. If you see a snapping turtle on a trail or in a park, observe it from a safe distance. Female turtles often cross streets to get to a suitable nesting site, even if it is far from water, so drivers are encouraged to slow down and be observant this spring and summer. For more information about turtle nesting and how best to support and protect turtles, visit www.wildlifeillinois.org/gallery/amphibians-and-reptiles/turtles/.

Spring and early summer is Red-winged Blackbird nesting season around wetlands. While on parenting duty, these protective birds may become aggressive defending their nests, which are hidden within the vegetation. Red-winged Blackbirds may fly towards intruders and hover above to scare them away. If this happens, simply walk away from the area. Visitors are advised to use caution around nesting areas. To learn more about Red-winged Blackbirds, visit www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-winged_Blackbird/id.

This is also the time of year when coyote pups are born and raised. Knoch Knolls Park is home to a family of coyotes and other wildlife. When walking on the trails at Knoch Knolls Park, stay on the trail and keep your dog on a leash. The Forest Preserve District of Will County provides helpful information about coyotes in our area at www.reconnectwithnature.org/news-events/co-existing-with-wildlife/coexist-with-coyotes.

Lastly, in the spring and throughout the year, the Park District asks park visitors to protect the health of the river and its wildlife and avoid feeding ducks or other waterfowl. Benefits of allowing ducks to find their own food include:

. Waterfowl stay healthy by eating a varied diet

. Prevents overcrowding and aggression among the waterfowl

. Young fowl are protected from predators attracted to human food

. The river stays clean

These reminders can be found on the Park District's website at www.napervilleparks.org/wildlifereminders.