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Homemade Nest Sites for Giant Canada Geese

GIF - Cover Photo
Terry A. Messmer
ND Cooperative Extension Service
Michael A. Johnson
ND Game and Fish Department
Forrest B. Lee
Great Plains Wildlife Services
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105


Since their near extinction in the 1920s, the restoration of the giant Canada goose (Branta canadensis maxima) in North America is a success story that has few equals in the history of wildlife management. For the most part, this happened in the last 40 years with modest beginnings in the 1930s and 1940s and considerable momentum developing in the 1960s and 1970s.

The return of the giant Canadas to North Dakota is an integral part of this success story. The restoration began in 1969, when a flock of giant Canada geese was established at Slade National Wildlife Refuge. Large-scale releases of hand-reared Canada geese began in 1972. Since then, remarkable increases have been noted in North Dakota, and these magnificent birds now nest over much of the state. Present restoration efforts involve the transplanting of wild-reared giant Canada geese. These efforts have been state-federal cooperative ventures with substantial support from private groups and individuals.

The giant Canada goose has become so well established in North Dakota that breeding pairs may find and use homemade nesting structures placed in suitable habitats most anywhere in the state. It is possible for landowners and sportsmen to entice this magnificent bird to nest in their localities by providing safe nesting places for them. Nesting structures are beneficial for the geese because they provide a nest site that is safe from predators that would destroy the nest. Giant Canada geese seem to recognize secure nesting situations and readily use nesting structures provided for them.

This resource is based on the following source:
Messmer, Terry A., Michael A. Johnson, and Forrest B. Lee.  1986.  Homemade nest
     sites for giant canada geese.  NDSU Extension Service, Fargo, ND. 15pp.
This resource should be cited as:
Messmer, Terry A., Michael A. Johnson, and Forrest B. Lee.  1986.  Homemade nest
     sites for giant canada geese.  NDSU Extension Service, Fargo, ND.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 16APR98).

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This circular is dedicated to the memory of
Frank J. Gjersing

Frank, a former wildlife biologist with the state of Montana and the designer of
the Gjersing structure, died in a June 11, 1983 plane crash while censusing waterfowl.

"He was a monument to what he believed in."

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