Geese galore: Birds set up nests, lay eggs around the suburbs

Across the suburbs, it’s the time of year when Canada geese start putting down temporary roots in unlikely places. The birds have been spotted setting up nests and laying eggs in parking lots, on store roofs and in concrete planters, to name a few of the human-made structures housing the wildlife.

  A goose is nesting next to the Walgreens at 1000 N. Roselle Road in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday. Joe Lewnard/

At Rolling Meadows City Hall, a pair of geese that have made their nest in a flower pot atop a wall outside the building have turned into local celebrities.

Kirchoff and Meadow — named through a Facebook contest that the City of Rolling Meadows hosted last year — are the parents of a “Flower Pot Flock” that has taken up residence outside City Hall each spring over the past few years.

  Meadow the goose is a familiar sight as she nests outside Rolling Meadows City Hall on Tuesday. Joe Lewnard/

“The community loves it,” Assistant to the City Manager Lori Ciezak said. “It’s just a fun thing for us to rally around.”

Ciezak said that everyone has been very protective of the geese and careful not to bother them. The pair have been in place for a couple of weeks now, and soon it’ll be time for the goslings to hatch and jump the nest. It’s an event that Ciezak said has been “dramatic” in past years, but has been a success as each of the babies have made the jump safely.

That success is likely what keeps the geese returning year after year. Ben Williams, Urban Waterfowl Project Manager with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said in an email that geese often nest in the same general location for several years, and especially if they are successful in laying and hatching eggs.

While some geese like Kirchoff and Meadow are a familiar sight, others are claiming new territory for the first time.

Gabriela Pizana, branch manager at the BMO Bank on Blanchard Circle in Wheaton, said that a “mama goose and a papa goose” have made their home just outside the bank’s front door. According to Pizana, this is the first year that a pair of geese have been front and center instead of hidden in the tall grass behind the bank’s parking lot.

Customers can sometimes be wary of the geese, but Pizana tells those concerned to simply steer clear.

“As long you as you don’t go near her nest, she won’t hiss at you, she won’t go after you,” Pizana said.

  Meadow the goose occupies a prominent position outside Rolling Meadows City Hall on Tuesday, but passersby know to give her and her nest ample space. Joe Lewnard/

Geese are protected in Illinois, and their active nests cannot be disturbed without a permit. According to Williams, people should not give geese food or water and should generally leave them be, even if the geese are nesting somewhere that may put them in harm’s way.

Williams described baby goslings as “bouncy” and capable of jumping from a certain height, as the Rolling Meadows Flower Pot Flock have done each year. However, he encouraged those worried about goslings leaving a nest that is higher than one story or is on a roof to contact him with their concerns.

Soon, hatching time will be here for geese around the suburbs, and the nests will be left empty — until next year.

For those with questions or concerns about a goose nest, contact:

Ben Williams, Urban Waterfowl Project Manager at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 847-608-3177 (office),

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