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Homemade Nest Sites for Giant Canada Geese

Maintenance


Nest structures and the floating platforms should be visited in late winter or early spring before March 1 to determine if they are in usable condition. When visiting the structures and platforms, take care to avoid creating a trail through emergent vegetation that will draw predators to the nest site.

The North Dakota structure should be examined annually, all unsuitable materials removed, and the nesting tub filled with new nest materials.

The Gjersing structure's bales, boards and wire should also be checked annually and replaced as necessary (Figure 12).

JPG - Maintenance of Nesting Structures
JPG - Maintenance of Nesting Structures
Fig. 12. Annual maintenance and replacement of nesting material is crucial to the success of homemade structures. (left, C. Schroeder, right, T. Hinz)

Floating nesting platforms as well require annual maintenance to replace nest material and to inspect and repair the structure if necessary. Generally the platform is left in place over-winter because it is too heavy to drag ashore. However, platform longevity can be increased if it is brought to shore as soon as the nesting season is over. A water-logged wood support frame can be extremely heavy to move and may require the use of a tractor. If pulled to shore through emergent vegetation, the platform will create a permanent trail. If the platform cannot be pulled to shore without going through shoreline vegetation, it should be pulled to and removed from the shore opposite the nest site. This will allow the platform to be reset in the same nest site next season without fear of creating a hazard for the geese.

Servicing on the ice is usually done in late winter or early spring prior to the return of the geese and before the ice goes out. Servicing after the ice has gone out usually requires the use of a boat for carrying nesting materials to the platform. The use of a boat also enables one to change the location of the raft if ice-action has resulted in the platform being dragged too close to shore. If this has happened, the anchor can be lifted off the bottom and the platform moved to the desired location. Under some circumstances the platform can be put in place by setting it on the ice in winter and dropping the anchor through a hole in the ice.

If a platform is occupied when ice is still present, predators will have direct access to the nest. For this reason, the platform should only be used in places where the other types of nesting structures are not practical. Remember, nesting structures are built to attract geese and should not create a hazard for them.


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