The city's geese were nearly extinct as of 1962. They exist in such huge quantities now because of a 1967 "Cooperative Giant Canada Goose Project" to restore the species.

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Harold Hanson, a semiretired research biologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, might be called the father of the giant Canada goose. In 1962, he noticed the distinct markings and oddly large size of geese in Rochester, Minn. Branta canadensis maxima, the giant Canada goose species long thought extinct, was rediscovered.

In the succinct words of Chicago Now's Adam Morgan, "it was a bad decision."

The well-intentioned conservationists didn't realize the effect the Chicago population would have on the geese. People feeding the geese has resulted in the geese discontinuing their annual migration south.