Wild Winnetka . . . Animals, That is!

Real Estate Agent with Baird & Warner Real Estate



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 weaveSquirrel in Winnetka 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:

river otters
badgers (rare)
and more birds and fish than I could ever name

And sometimes, in fact very often, they come and wander the residential Owl Cook County Forest Preservesneighborhoods. 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.

Coyote in Winnetka ILThe 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.


Fawns in Winnetka

Fox in Winnetka IL


Deer Wilmette IL


Fox in Glencoe

Falcon in Cook County forest preserves



Swans in Northfield

Coyote on golf course Winnetka IL


Racoon in tree



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.)




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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:

Phone:  847-977-6024

Email:  margaret.goss@bairdwarner.com

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Margaret Goss - Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.

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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Margaret- you are so lucky to live with animals nearby.  We have some but not as many as you!  I think it helps to remind us that we aren't the only ones on the planet that matters. 

Jul 09, 2018 05:25 PM #1
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Quite the collection of animals you have as neighbors ~

Jul 10, 2018 09:35 AM #2
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Margaret, amazingly your neighborhood is like mine, I have seen on Mulholland Dr Deer running across the busy Historic Street, then I have seen raccoons in my back yard bathing in our fountain.... I have also seen Coyotes walking in the Hollywood Hills and signs in my neighborhood to be careful of Coyotes... the list goes on and on... so my take we share our homes with the animals...Endre

Jul 11, 2018 10:25 PM #3
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

Hi Margaret,  That's my kind of neighborhood.  Today I had 2 black squirrels, 2 chipmunks, a rabbit, a deer, and a multitude of birds in my back yard.  I love wildlife.

Jul 15, 2018 06:54 PM #4
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Margaret Goss

Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
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