The Oak Hammock Marsh located in Stoney Mountain Manitoba Canada was and still is, one of the prime breeding grounds of the Giant Canada goose. The Oak Hammock which was originally known as St. Andrews bog was massive in size in the 1700's. It covered about 115,000 acres at that time, but in the late 1890's through the 1950's the bog was drained down for farming reasons. Now the historic marsh covers about 5,000 acres of managed water.
The Oak Hammock which is located about 25 miles north of Winnipeg is home to Duck Unlimited Canada. With their help in 1984 they constructed a water management system to be able to control water levels in the bog. The Oak Hammock also has an Interpretive Centre located on property. This Centre allows visitors from all over to come and learn about the bog's history, the wildlife it produces and the viewing of the fall migration. The Centre also has a lot about waterfowl hunting history in it.
The Oak Hammock serves as a prime breeding location for Giant Canada geese, but it also serves as a massive staging area during the fall migration. In the fall of 1994, a record 450,000 geese staged on it before heading south. With a refuge located around the marsh this allows for a prime stop during the venture south. Most of the giants that nest and stage at Oak Hammock make their way to Rochester, MN to winter.
Back in the late 1960's through the mid 1990's the giants would stage at Oak Hammock and in one flight make the trip straight to Rochester, Minnesota. This flight would take anywhere from 7 to 10 hours based on wind. With over 60 nesting island build and controlled water, the Oak Hammock was a major factor in the resurgence of the Giant Canada goose. The same geese that we look forward to seeing every year here in Rochester.