For nature areas, go to the Heartland Faculty Illinois Information campus

NORMAL, IL (AP) – A loud Canada Goose screeched across Birky Pond as it chased a potential competitor on a Friday in March.

“Somebody got up on the wrong side of the nest this morning,” noted Janet Beach Davis of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Faculty at Heartland Community College.

Beach Davis has been working on the Heartland green space since construction began on campus along Raab Road 20 years ago.

How many people drive by without noticing the 13 acre lake? Birds will certainly notice it, especially during migration when it attracts a wide variety of waterfowl.

In addition to Canada geese and mallards, Birky Pond has been home to hooded mergansers, buffleheads, redheads, canvasbacks, northern shovels, scaups, and marigolds in recent weeks, to name a few.

The calls of red-winged blackbirds, which Beach Davis regards as a sign of spring, almost drowned out the sounds of nearby Interstate 55. A cardinal sang from the top of a tree and other birds attended the concert.

There are approximately two miles of hiking trails. Bicycles are prohibited, but pets on a leash are allowed.

“Please be attentive and leave nothing but footprints,” said Beach Davis.

The pond was built as a water retention basin to slow the runoff from campus, Beach Davis explained, but it’s also a centerpiece of the green space, which includes 15 acre prairie, 4 acre Forb prairie, wetlands, a bird feeder path, and Heartland Gardens.

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