Whether you are heading to your neighborhood park’s playground or walking on a trail through the woods, spring is a great time to enjoy being outdoors at the Naperville Park District. Spring also is a time when wild animals and birds in our parks are nesting or raising their young. Below are a few reminders and tips for keeping everyone safe and healthy.
Protect river wildlife by not feeding ducks or geese
Check out the benefits of refraining from feeding the waterfowl:
• 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 cleaner
Feeding bread or crackers to waterfowl can lead to Angel Wing Syndrome, which is caused by a deficiency of vitamins and minerals along with a high level of carbohydrates and sugars. This condition results in wing deformities that prevent them from flying and can lead to death. Learn more about Angel Wing syndrome: www.naturemuseum.org/2016/05/what-is-angel-wing-syndrome.
Be aware that spring is nesting time for geese and they become protective of their mates and young. Signs that a goose is protecting its territory include:
• A warning call
• Spreading its wings
• Hissing sounds
• Confronting any person or animal that comes near their nest
• Lowering its head
When walking in a park, try to stay away from protective geese. Learn more about Canada Geese at www.flightcontrol.com/learnmore/about-canada-geese.
Learn about coyotes
Knoch Knolls Park is home to a family of coyotes. 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.
This spring, please be aware that:
• Coyotes breed in late winter and their pups are born in April/May.
• Adults are especially protective of their young/den areas in the spring.
• Always keep your dog on the leash while visiting the parks to reduce the likelihood of confrontations with coyotes.
• Remember, when you enter a park or forest preserve, you are entering the home of local wildlife.
Watch for Turtles
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. Those who see a snapping turtle on a trail or in a park should only observe the turtle from a safe distance. Female turtles often cross roads to get to a suitable nesting site, even if it is far away from water, so drivers are encouraged to slow down and be observant this spring and summer. Learn more about turtle nesting and how best to help them here.
Give Wild Animals and Birds Their Space this Spring!
Thank you for respecting wildlife as you visit parks this spring. Learn more about local wildlife at Knoch Knolls Nature Center, located at 320 Knoch Knolls Road. For the Nature Center’s hours and more information, visit www.napervilleparks.org/knochknollsnaturecenter.