|Canada geese pair and young in Lincoln Park.|
|Dabbling geese with a duck observing them, probably finding their upended tails completely hilarious.|
Many of the geese in Lincoln Park probably flew north to Chicago earlier in the spring from the southern US or Mexico. More Canada geese are migratory than non-migratory, though some members of the species have begun to live in the same location year-round. The newer, non-migratory geese are an evolutionary response to the recent changes in their habitat: in the past 100 years, permanent open grassy areas with maintained, predator-free ponds have appeared everywhere. Indeed, golf courses, airports, office complexes and neighborhoods provide goose heaven, and Canada geese have increased their numbers in response. Once a fairly rare species, the Canada goose has become common enough to annoy annoyable people, sometimes even being called a pest.
In Lincoln Park, people mostly seem to enjoy the geese. They watch them, photograph them and feed them, despite signs forbidding the feeding of wildlife. The goslings provide food for the black-crowned night herons, and the geese eat excess pond vegetation. Canada goose behaviors are fairly simple and easy to observe, so lots of kids and adults learn about bird biology by observing geese. Unfortunately, geese seem to be such a common sight that some people have lost their respect for the geese's size and strength. Parents let their toddlers chase the geese and approach the young, even with the parent geese hissing and ready to bite (yes, they lunge, flap, bite and cause an unnerving ruckus in self-defense).
|A wood duck (left) hanging out with Canada gees (right) at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond in Lincoln Park.|