USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Homemade Nest Sites for Giant Canada Geese

Nest Material

Once your nesting structure or floating platform is assembled, it is time to place the nesting material. Flax straw is the best nesting material since it holds together well and resists being blown from the structure by wind. Native hay or marsh vegetation can also be used for nesting material but are less desirable than flax straw. Alfalfa hay and small grain straw crumble too easily and are quickly blown away so they should never be used as nesting material.

Structures or platforms already in the field should be visited in late winter or early spring before March 1 to add additional nesting material.

North Dakota and Floating Platform Structures

Do not skimp on nesting material. Wind, weather and goose use will reduce the amount of material in the nesting tubs or boxes. Place enough nesting material in the nest box or nest tub so that it extends above the top leaving a depression in the middle (Figure 9).

GIF - Placement of Nesting Material
GIF - Placement of Nesting Material
Fig. 9. Secure a substantial bundle of nest material in the bottom of the tub, then fill to the top leaving a depression in the middle.

Where nest tubs are exposed, it is necessary to secure some straw in the tubs with wire. Place 2 to 3 inches of nesting material in the bottom of the tub. Next, drill three or four sets of two small holes opposite one another, one on the upper and one on the lower edge of the tub. Thread light wire in one hole, through and around some of the nesting material, and then out through the other hole on the same side. Pull the wire tight and secure on the outer edge. Do not make wire loops on the outside of the tub, since this might provide a raccon with a "toehold" to gain access to the nesting structure. If 3/16-inch eyebolts were used to attach the nesting tub to the metal disc in the North Dakota structure, nesting material can be secured by threading wire through the eyelet, then over and around a bundle of nesting material. The wire can then be refastened to the starting eyelet. After the 6 to 8 inches of nesting material has been secured with wire, the tub should be completely filled with additional nesting material (Figure 10).

JPG - Nest With Flax Straw
Fig. 10. Flax straw Is the best nesting material because it holds together well and resists being blown from the structure. (E. Bry)

Gjersing Structure

Even though flaxstraw bales can be expected to last three years or more if in good condition when put up and wired securely, structures still should be visited in late winter or spring before March 1 to determine if they are in usable condition for the coming season. It is generally easier to replace bales, wire, etc. when the pond is covered with ice and one can walk to the structure.

Previous Section -- Floating Nesting Platform
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Placement

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:30:42 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]