Goose Roosts

by Carl Strang


I have completed my first sweep of DuPage County for Canada goose winter roosts. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the geese appear to use a hierarchy of sites. Early in the winter there are many locations where groups of geese spend the night. Some of these roosts, usually located on streams, are significantly larger than the others. As ponds and lakes freeze, geese abandon them. At the same time, the major sites where water stays open show an increase in numbers that suggests many of the geese shift from satellite sites to persistent ones. I know from past observations at Fullersburg, however, that even some of the major sites can freeze and be abandoned during severe cold periods. Geese return, however, when the water re-opens. Usually such extreme weather is limited to a week or two at most in a given winter.




Here are the major DuPage roosts I know about so far, each of which holds several hundred to a few thousand birds. I would appreciate additions if readers know of others. All of the results at this point have to be regarded as tentative.


Deep Quarry Lake, West Branch Forest Preserve: north central DuPage

Redmond Reservoir, Bensenville: northeast DuPage

Fermilab, interior of accelerator circle: west central DuPage

Blackwell Forest Preserve (south): west central DuPage

McDowell Grove Forest Preserve: west central DuPage

Hidden Lake Forest Preserve: central DuPage

Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve: east central DuPage


As of December 20, Deep Quarry Lake had frozen, and so at least was temporarily inactive. The Fermilab site was nearly frozen and down to 87 birds. At least the Blackwell, McDowell and Hidden Lake roosts still were active. This has been an unusually cold December.




Smaller roosts that may prove to be satellites, holding up to a few hundred birds:

Timber Ridge Forest Preserve: central DuPage

Hinsdale Lake: east central DuPage

Willow Lake west of Fox Valley Mall: southwest DuPage

East Branch DuPage River at 7 Bridges, Lisle: south central DuPage


At least the Timber Ridge roost was frozen and abandoned December 20. To some extent I believe the geese are scattering along open rivers, dividing into smaller groups. They are not necessarily all crowding into the larger roosts. Also, given the early arrival of severe winter weather, some geese may have decided to move south and leave the area entirely.


In January I will return to these roosts and see how they are faring.



  1. January 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    […] January 1 and 3 I started revisiting Canada goose roosts in DuPage County. At this point the rivers still are at flood levels, though well below the peak […]

  2. January 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    […] moderated to something approaching seasonal, I went out to check the county’s four largest winter goose roosts. Three of them were frozen, and the geese were gone: Blackwell, McDowell and […]

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