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Water Gardens: My decoy heron just arrived

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gloriag
Floyd, VA
(Zone 6b)

July 24, 2009
9:14 PM

Post #6860672

I have heard that they should only be put in the pond when the herons are looking to
establish territory. The theory is that they will see the "heron" in the pond and pass on by. Is this true or should I put it in the pond and maybe save a few fish? If it is the absolute wrong time, he will figure it out and never pay any attention to it again.

Please advise me. I don't even know if there are any fish left!
BeaHive
Dallas, OR
(Zone 8a)

July 24, 2009
9:27 PM

Post #6860712

Put it out now. The sooner they see it the sooner they will leave your fishes alone. I am so glad
I invested in the decoy. The Heron buzz over my yard and circle, but they have never tried a landing since I put mine out. It was scary the day it did try to land. It was like a 747 trying to land in my backyard! They are massive! Glad I was in the yard that day or my fish would have been gonners.
Put it in the location on the banks where you have seen them land and feed.

Good luck!
helenchild
Decatur, GA

July 25, 2009
1:30 PM

Post #6862973

I used a decoy and it worked for awhile. (several years) But either I got lazy about not moving it often enough or the resident herons got wise and know its a sham.. so it stopped working.
But the last few years I have been using a net during the non nesting time - fall until spring. I don't use it this time of year - no herons around. The net works well and I haven't lost any fish when its in place. I usually drape a big net over the whole pond but this year I think I will cut and fit it better to the shape of the upper and lower ponds. It should look better, although it is amazing how little it shows at all, and be easier to move to get access to the water when I need to clean or whatever.
I have lost a lot of goldfish to herons. Luckily my koi are now much to big for them to bother.
Good luck in keeping the herons out.

Helen
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 31, 2009
1:57 AM

Post #6887455

Herons look for a mate in late winter and early spring. During that time a decoy can draw a heron in. In Ohio, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources folks say that decoys don't really work. Experienced ponders say they do work if you move them at least once daily. A mature heron can and will spear a large koi right through the gill plate even if the koi is too big to swallow. I have a koi that was speared and lived. He caught a glancing blow which disfigured the gill plate permanently. Nets work, of course. Also nylon fishing line strung in two to three rows about a foot apart at slightly different heights completely around the pond perimeter will keep out both herons and racoons. I did have a raccoon actually partially pull a net off the pond. I think it got caught in it somehow and drug it while attempting to get away. It was then that I switched to nylon fishing line. I don't know which I dislike more - herons or raccoons. I've lost my share of fish to both.
helenchild
Decatur, GA

July 31, 2009
2:15 AM

Post #6887537

snapple,
Thanks for the info about herons and koi. I will take better care to keep the herons out.

Helen
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 31, 2009
3:07 AM

Post #6887772

I too, need to be more vigilant about keeping the wild life at bay. My goldfish pond has been completely wiped out twice - once by a heron and once by a raccoon. Plus the heron made a heck of good try at my koi pond. Funny how hard you can work at it after they get you. My neighbor told me that just a couple of days ago he saw a heron up in one my oak trees taking a look at the koi pond. They don't give up either. In a few weeks they will start to migrate south and good riddance. Heads up down there in GA!
gloriag
Floyd, VA
(Zone 6b)

July 31, 2009
10:54 AM

Post #6888474

Thanks, I put my decoy into the pond, but I only have two places which I can reach to place the heron. It is good to know that the heron should
not be put in the pond in late winter or early spring, but I think I am finished with pet fish. The odds against their surviving are too great, and the loss is too painful.
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 31, 2009
2:24 PM

Post #6889158

Don't give up. It's doable with exercising some caution and effort. It's really just about taking the right precations before something happens. But I know how you feel. I still miss my favorite Sarassa comet. But, the goldfish pond has been thriving since we put on the fishing line. It's fully restocked and the comets and shubunkins are breeding like mad. Should be a bumper crop.
gloriag
Floyd, VA
(Zone 6b)

August 10, 2009
12:46 AM

Post #6928040

Snapple, My two big koi (Sydney and Melba) are alive!! I have no idea of how many of the others are alive as well. I don't see that many frogs now though. The decoy may very well have worked. I have about 40' to move it
around, then at the other end since the pond is shrinking so rapidly I can put it there as well some times.

Thank you for the encouragement! It is an answer to my prayers.
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2009
1:29 AM

Post #6928224

Oh! I am so GLAD!!!! Yay for Sydney & Melba. When fish have been threatened they can really get spooked and hide for a long, long time. Watch out for next spring though. The decoy is not the way to go. Have another strategy preplanned and put in place, BEFORE trouble strikes. Again, - I'm just delighted.
CherokeeGreg
Fresno, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 24, 2010
1:00 PM

Post #7917030

Are those big white birds herons ? One came and got all my goldfish. It made me sick I have a decoy by my pond also. Im so sad. I know it was a big white bird it came back the next morning I saw it.
Greg
helenchild
Decatur, GA

June 24, 2010
2:13 PM

Post #7917267

Sorry about your fish Greg. Bummer.
Helen
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 24, 2010
3:19 PM

Post #7917449

i have 4 decoys but did not work that is why my pond is netted. belle
CherokeeGreg
Fresno, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 6, 2010
10:03 AM

Post #7947294

[quote="CherokeeGreg"]Are those big white birds herons ? One came and got all my goldfish. It made me sick I have a decoy by my pond also. Im so sad. I know it was a big white bird it came back the next morning I saw it.
Greg[/quote]

Great news The other day I went out to fix all the damage the white bird did to my pond I was fixing the plants and took the fountain out to clean it and there before my eyes came out swiming was most of my fish ! They were hiding. I was so happy ! I think the bird only got a couple I will have to get a good body count. Poor guys were probally terafied.
BeaHive
Dallas, OR
(Zone 8a)

July 6, 2010
10:04 AM

Post #7947296

Good news!
gloriag
Floyd, VA
(Zone 6b)

July 6, 2010
1:42 PM

Post #7947782

Thank heavens! Mine survived too, but now I hardly ever see them.
I stopped feeding them so they would not laze around on the surface.
It is a 72,000 gallon pond rapidly losing water because of the heat. But that was such a wonderful sight, seeing almost all of them alive. This summer they have 3 large and 2 small clusters of water lilies and a small of which under which to hide and stay cool.
cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

July 15, 2010
7:42 PM

Post #7971637

We have lost fish to raccoons and herons. The decoy was not much help. In addition raccoons are vicious critters and destroy the pond plants as well as the fish. It is my understanding that flashing lights deter raccoons.

Last year we netted the pond with deer netting to protect the fish. When it was clear that raccoons had paid an unsuccessful visit, we battened down the hatches and put chicken wire on top. We had several more raccoon visits. They became so angry they left their poop around the pond, but they never succeeded at ruining the plants and fish. By fall with autumn leaves on top, we were no longer able to enjoy the pond, and had become so frustrated we came up with the solution: We made an indoor pond and brought our finned friends inside with the pond plants. They had a very comfortable winter and so did we. They have become so enjoyable indoors that we don't have the heart to send them outside.

Here are a few happy fish.

Our pond is fishless this summer, but we've been able to keep the herons out of the house.

Thumbnail by cathy166
Click the image for an enlarged view.

helenchild
Decatur, GA

July 15, 2010
8:21 PM

Post #7971745

Pretty fish cathy.
Helen
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 16, 2010
8:49 AM

Post #7972799

First I lost fish to raccoons. We trapped and removed to a natural area about 15 mi away ( not kosher with with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources). Trapping is OK, relocating is a No-No.

Then I lost fish to herons. Nothing like looking out your kitchen window and seeing one of these giant flying rats wading in your pond.

Over my small goldfish pond I laid green 8' garden stakes at 2' intervals across the pond. They just barely made the span. Since I've done that I haven't lost any more fish to herons. They dont look bad, you can see the fish, plant growth isnt trapped underneath , they dont catch leaves and they can be easily removed for cleaning etc. so its a good system if your pond is small enough.

For the big koi pond, which is 15' across, I'm going to get small diameter PVC pipe and make pieces long enough to span the pond. I probably wont like the look much but it beats seeing a heron wading around. A wildlife officer, after giving me the speel about how they were a protected bird and I shouldn't do anything to even frighten them away, said that they were usually a threat in our area during the month of May. In May they migrate in and look for places to set up shop. If they dont find your pond to their liking they keep looking elsewhere. Once happy with their feeding areas they stick to those places. So, keep them out during May, maybe early June and you should be OK after that.

I'd like to do more than just frighten them.
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

July 16, 2010
4:39 PM

Post #7973868

If I can get a couple of fish up to you, your herons won't be able to pick these bad boys up! :)
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

July 16, 2010
4:46 PM

Post #7973881

:)

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