Naperville Park District Tips on Geese and Duck Encounters

April 29, 2022
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Naperville Park District Tips on Geese and Duck Encounters

With spring underway, and wildlife out and about, the Naperville Park District is advising the public on how they should behave around some of our fowl friends.

Give Geese Space

“This time of year, there’s lots of baby animals and so we just have to be respectful because basically when you come to one of our parks, that’s the animals’ homes. And so, we have, you know, geese that are going to be having their goslings,” said Angelique Harshman, Manager of Knoch Knolls Nature Center

Harshman says that means you’ll want to keep clear, and be respectful.

“You see a goose this time of year. Of course, they’re breeding like other birds. Geese are big and bigger than most people think. Male and females will pair up. The male will be very protective of the female and their nest and what he considers their territory. So if you see, you know, geese, just don’t get close, give them space. You know, don’t enter in too close. If he starts coming towards you, that means that’s his territory and you just need to back off,” said Harshman.

Don’t Feed The Ducks

As for ducks, the message is simple: don’t feed them.

“It’s really important and I know everybody loves to feed ducks, so they gather around, but when they eat, the types of things that we feed them tend to be bread and sometimes cookies and un-nutritional things for them,” said Harshman.

That advice goes for animals in the wild in general, says Harshman.

“It’s best not to feed wild animals. They can find food on their own,” said Harshman. “You’re still probably going to see ducks, you know, floating around on the river if you’re down there or a pond or a creek here at Knoch Knolls. But one thing that that type of feeding can do is, well, two things is they can become used to being fed by us, even though they should be able to find their own food in the wild.”

And giving them some types of food can actually cause them harm.

“Non-nutritious food like white bread can cause a syndrome called angel wing, where duck’s wings or gooses wings don’t form properly, so they can’t really fly. That makes them more susceptible to predators,” said Harshman.

Steer Clear Says Park District

The best thing you can do for ducks and geese when you’re outside, Harshman says, is to give them space.

“Make sure your dog is on a leash and be respectful of their space so they can raise their babies and feel safe,” said Harshman.

Naperville News 17’s Tim Jacobi reports

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