I was recently driving east along Winnetka Ave in Northfield near Happ Road and saw such a cute sight. A family of swans: parents and 8 signets walking along the parkway.
I stopped to film them and realized they were going to attempt to cross the street - fairly busy at that point. I hopped out to play crossing guard and soon enough so did several other people. Our best efforts only managed to make the swans hiss at us ( I didn't know they did that!) Eventually, they were shooed back to the sidewalk and waddled off to safety.
The encounter made me think about all the wonderful wildlife we have in Winnetka and the North Shore. While some people grumble about raccoons or coyotes, I love that we live so close to each other and have, for the most part, few confrontations. Most people are like the ones that stopped with me to help the birds - concerned with the animals' welfare and willing to help out if necessary.
One reason for all the fauna is the proximity of the forest preserves which weave their way north-south for 59 miles through the area. The local preserves are owned and managed by Cook County and cover an impressive 69,000 acres - or 11% of the entire county! With the loss of their native habitat, the forest preserves are critical for their survival. They include prairies, woodlands, and wetlands and are, for the most part, left alone to undergo their own natural processes.
Animals that live in the forest preserves include:
and more birds and fish than I could ever name
And sometimes, in fact very often, they come and wander the residential neighborhoods. Many have left the forest preserves and live in the ravines along the lake front, and in areas with larger lots that have good cover for them - for instance the Woodley Road and Indian Hill Road areas, and along the Green Bay Trail. I did not have my camera one day as 3 deer poked their heads around around a fence as they were emerging from the trail. The local nurseries make a good business selling deer-repellent plants and fences they supposedly can't jump over.
The coyotes are perhaps the most controversial since they are known to snatch small dogs from fenced yards. As you will see in the photos, the local coyotes are not scrawny and are huge opportunists when it comes to what they'll consume. Nextdoor Winnetka had so many coyote alerts that it set up a separate group just for those who want to keep up on the updates. The final word is don't let your small animals out in the yard themselves - use a leash.
Here's a look at some of the animals that have shown up throughout the North Shore.
If you would like to live in the North Shore near some of these animals, please see homes for sale in these villages:
(Thank you to all contributors from NextDoor Winnetka who sent me their photos.)
Sign up to get monthly North Shore real estate news delivered to your inbox.
It's free, we'll never sell your info, and you can opt-out at any time.
Enter your email address at: North Shore Newsletter
Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate broker since 1998 working in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.
She can be reached at:
See her full BIOGRAPHY