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Canada Geese Nesting On Beaver Lodges

4-29-19 c. goose on beaver lodge _U1A7241If you are fortunate enough to have a beaver pond near you, you should give the lodge more than a cursory glance this time of year. It is common to find Canada Geese nesting on beaver lodges, for obvious reasons – safety from most land predators. While Common ravens have been known to raid Canada Goose nests for eggs and goslings, the overall rate of survival of the goslings of lodge-nesting geese is very high.

A Canadian study showed that ponds with beaver lodges (and therefore Beaver activity which warms the water and thaws the ice) thaw at least 11 days sooner than ponds without Beavers, allowing early access to water for Canada Geese returning for the spring nesting season. Battles between pairs of geese vying for these coveted nesting sites are not uncommon.

Canada Geese have much to thank Beavers for. Not only can geese get an early nesting start on beaver lodges, they have a relatively safe spot to incubate their eggs and raise their young.

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9 responses

  1. Ellen Hoffman

    I have a question on a different topic – a hawks nest. We had an active one at the edge of our property,. We could see the females head as she sat on the nest, and the male would give us fly-over warnings when we passed. The activity ceased, and I found downy feathers caught in the bushes and two mature feathers on the ground. What do you think would destroy a hawks nest high in an oak tree (location CT) I am guessing maybe a fisher? Another suggestion is mischievous crows, but I haven’t been aware of them.. Who would you suspect the culprit to be? Ellen Hoffman

    May 6, 2019 at 8:06 am

    • Maine naturalist

      Great Horned Owls, perhaps? They generally don’t make their own nests, and can drive off hawks and ospreys. There are some breeding records of GHOs and bald eagles sharing a nesting platform over water (reluctantly, suspiciously) in North Carolina.

      May 6, 2019 at 11:37 am

    • Hi Ellen,
      I’m afraid I have no sure answer for you. You don’t say what kind of hawk it was, but if it was a small hawk, like a Cooper’s or Sharp-shinned, a larger hawk could have preyed on it, or possibly an eagle, but can’t say for sure!

      May 6, 2019 at 4:15 pm

  2. Barbara L. Bates

    Dear Mary,

    I love this post!

    I am writing an article about beaver as a keystone species for The Newton Conservators, a Newton MA based land trust and will be quoting you, with attribution, regarding this nesting activity.

    How do you prefer attribution, as Mary Holland, as NaturallyCurious Blog by Mary Holland, some other?

    Will you give us permission for our newsletter, sent both in paper form and by email as a PDF that also lives on our website, to use the picture you took of the goose nest?

    Many thanks for the wonderful posts you send out.


    Barbara Bates

    298 Cypress St Newton, MA 02459 617-964-6119

    Sent from my iPad


    May 6, 2019 at 8:24 am

    • Certainly, Barbara. If you could print my blog address along with the photo/quote, that would be wonderful ( !

      May 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm

  3. Bill On The Hill

    Thanks Mary… Looks like a cozy spot for sure. :~)

    May 6, 2019 at 8:47 am

  4. Alice Pratt

    As long as the Geese don’t block the chimney 😬🤣 The Goslings obviously don’t have too tough a time getting to the water..and….hopefully don’t end up as a Snapper meal.

    May 6, 2019 at 8:51 am

  5. Barry Avery

    Thanks for the Heads Up. I will check out the Beaver Lodge at Manitook Lake on Friday when I paddle by on my fishing trip.

    May 6, 2019 at 9:27 am

  6. Peggy Timmerman

    On our pond the geese often nest on the muskrat houses. We wish the Sandhill cranes would learn to follow this strategy, as their nesting areas are much more vulnerable to the variable spring flooding we now seem to get.

    May 6, 2019 at 9:42 am

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