I've been having a blue heron visit my pond. After seeing him fly off this morning, I decided to fight back. Went to Wal-Mart and bought 2 dozen 4-foot bamboo stakes and some fishing line, I made fence around the pond with fishing line at three levels. Let's see if he succeeds at having another meal a la my pond. My poor fish have been in hiding lately which is a shame since my pond is clearing up nicely. It's been either that I can't see the fish due to muck and algae or I can't see them because they are in hiding. Can't win.
So far, so good with the fishing line perimeter. This weekend I will criss cross some line across the pond and attach it to the top of the bamboo stakes. I'm still concerned about hungry heron landing on the waterfall rocks of somewhere else inside the perimeter.
When we had our ponds in AZ, the fishing line as a web around the perimeter was very effective. We had huge heron (who would've thought, in the desert???!!) that had done some damage. The fishing line thing worked very well. Good luck!
So... last evening at about 7:15, I got home from the grocery store and glanced out the dining room window at the pond. My first thought was how in the world did my heron decoy end up in the middle of the pond. Then I had my OMG moment: it's hungry heron in the flesh standing boldly in my pond (I have a plant shelf in the middle)! I yelled and he flew off. Gosh, they're huge! Today I will implement the fishing line criss cross over the pond. But first, I have to do the weekly chores such as hosing off the pump, netting fallen leaves, etc. Thank goodness I have about 5 good places for the fish to hide so maybe he didn't get lucky.
Guess what our Village bird is . . .? The great Blue Heron . . . We have this nesting habitat that was built 20 years ago in our town and the Great Blue is thriving but not in my pond. I have the fishing line and it works!
Well, I fought the blue heron battle and LOST!
He has gulped down 21 of our prized Koi. Only
two left. In the process of deterence, I learned
a few things:
1) The pond suppliers sell netting that costs about $30.
It is very heavy and is difficult to put on and take off.
Very awkward to maneuver.
2) Lowes sells bird netting, which is much lighter and
cheaper -- $8 or less. It works better than the Laguna
netting and is much easier to handle.
3) Do not stretch netting above the ground more than
a few inches. Herons duck under it.
4) Fish line works only so long before it becomes a tangled mess.
5) Even a Koi 8 inches long is not too large for a heron to swallow.
6) Sleeping all night beside the pond doesnt work either. Herons
are quiet. They sneak up and eat without waking you.
7) Plastic decoys work only a day or two. Even moving them as
suggested works only so long before the herons learn that the
decoy is just that -- a decoy. They will deliberately try to spook it,
and when it doesnt move after a few tries, they get bold and move
right in on it. (PS: The price of these things varies from $25 to $65.
As long as you're going to waste your money, might as well go cheap.)
8) Don't set plastic decoys out in April. This is heron mating season, and
all you do is entice amorous birds looking for love. Rather than deter birds,
it will attract them!
9) Scarecrow sprinklers ordered from Amazon for overnight next-day
delivery will usually arrive 3-4 days later.
10) Kids love to set off scarecrow motion detectors and play in the spray.
11) As long as you're going to feed the Koi, buy the cheap ones. Better yet,
buy the "feeder" gold fish. Pet Smart sells them for 10 cents each.
12) Total number of beginning Koi = 23
Total spent on Koi = +/- $2400 (plus tax)
Cost of plastic decoy = $39.95
Cost of netting bought from pond supplier = $34.00
Cost of replacement netting bought from Lowes = $7.97
Cost of four PVC support pipes = $11.88 (plus tax)
Number of Koi devoured by one hero in one week = 21
Cost of Scarecrow sprinkler (with "overnight" shipping) = $69.95
Estimated value of remaining Koi = $150
Cost of 50 replacement "feeder" goldfish = $5.00 (plus tax)
I am sorry to hear of your loss. I thought I spent a lot on fish - but you do have me beaten in that department.
Do you have shelves in your pond? I know the traditional koi ponds are built with shelving, however - if your sides are as straight up and down as possible, this makes it more difficult for the heron to reach the fish, providing the pond is deep enough. This type of set up will also make it more difficult for raccoons and the like.
I agree with the expense to keep herons out. I have had my pond for 8 years and in few months after it was constructed we had to cover it with netting. The first one was netting supported by PVC pipes so the netting does not sink in. Our son came on vacation and said that it was an eyesore and it was a very expensive pond for it to look like that. He designed and covered it and had kept it netted ever since for peace of mind. i also used different heron deterrent but did not work!!!
I had bump the our pond cover for you to look at. It does not look bad at all. i think it is very presentable. I am sorry I do not know how to cut and paste the link.The thread is also about herons. Happy ponding!!! Bellie
Weidner I am sorry about your fish but really laughed at the way you outlined your anti-heron program. I thought at the end of it you were going to write something about Mastercard or American Express and it being "priceless".
I have dogs, scarecrow and fishing line. The best is the fishing line and the dogs. It's too fussy having a crazy dog attacking and barking mad at you when your blue heron foot is tangled up in a mess of heavy gage/heavy pound fishing line. Last year my dog (little dog) actually grabbed the heron and I thought the heron was going to kill the dog with his beak but he just frantically flew away never to return.
Thanks Carolynn-Your always so kind. For some reason the water is very murky this year but the fish are thriving. Maybe a little water change is needed. It's probably all this rain . . .
I've been working so hard on the garden surrounding the pond and patio the past few years that I am finally getting a lot of questions and compliments from friends and family. The last few years, Better Homes and Gardens has been looking for gardens to showcase from our area and each year I am asked if I am ready. I feel I am almost there-maybe next year. Backyard only.
Too bad the front of my house looks like a "dump" landscape-wise . . .lol!
OMG, Weidner, I feel your pain! You definitely have me beat on the fish budget as well, but as you know, it's not just the money... we got more attached to our fish than one would think possible. We had names for our favorites. It seems lots of people are losing fish to herons right now.
I have a little dog that only weighs about 3 lbs but he thinks he has the muscles of He-Man lol
When he barks his most vicious bark, it just sounds like a little squeak. I would worry about him around large birds or anything for that matter.
yeah, he's a runt for sure. He doesn't make much of a gardening buddy. Lol a month ago he fell into the fish pond. Now he makes sure I am looking at him before he drinks. Of course, yes, he does have a fresh bowl of water, but you know dogs...
i am SOOOOOOOOO sorry about the koi! we have large crains here and that is my biggest fear! one day i saw one sitting by the pond starring in! i scared it off thank God! i do have some advice. we built a pergulia covering over the top of our pond, this keeps the birds from seeing the water. also you can net in the sides of the pergulia around the pond. this story really touched me, im so sorry you had to expirence this! what a nightmare! also the koi become part of the family so its heart wrenching! we also put a special area in the pond where the fish can hide. we used large pcv water pipe they are huge pipe where fish can go if under attack. they like to sleep in the pipe also. right now my fish are sleeping on top water so im terrified! our koi are about 18 to 20 inches long but we also have babies.so they are a target! again im sorry this happened to you!
Weidner, I agree with Mothermole, I appreciate your comments about the battle against the heron. I have to admit it was kind of amusing despite knowing it is such a frustrating battle. I can emphasize with many things you have done and know not to try some other methods. We have the battle at our place with osprey. I swear the bird that is coming is a polygamist. He/she must be feeding more than one family for how often they come and how much they take! I have had an ego thing I think to have koi. But, the $$$ side of things is making me think that goldfish will be just fine.
hi. you can get some pretty good deals on quality koi if you look around. you dont have to spend a fortune to enjoy koi. i recently got a baby koi just in from Japan for only 30 dollars! quite a deal! i really enjoy raising my koi and i think people can enjoy the hobby without going broke! ive been raising my koi for eight years now and they are much more rewarding than goldfish, in my opnion. i would not give up. set backs happen to all of us and its a learning expirence! i would not give up! id keep on trying! i wish you the best of luck and God bless!
I have put a small fortune into koi - Realsis is correct in that you don't have to do this unless you want to. Some of my koi fry are as beautiful as the ones that I paid probably more than I should have for some of my fish.
Also - it is possible to keep the herons away. I live between 2 rivers and the herons as well as duck, geese and everything else, go from one river to the other. We have had visits from herons, but only on one occasion did the herons make off with any of the koi - which is event that put us into action in deterring the herons.
I have gotten some really beauties at Petsmart. Of my top value koi of 5 three were from Petsmart. They didn't look like much when I bought them but have really become something special. Now I also have another 10 or so uglies from Petsmart that a serious collector would laugh at BUT I like them - they are mine and I am happy!
BTW: I found another real good use for the scarecrow sprayer (we haven't needed to use it this season). My eldest son is now of the age when the girls are flocking to our property hoping for a glimpse of him and with that has come some toilet paper wars (TPing). A few nights ago my sons and friends did a girl's house across the street and they were caught and have been waiting for the revenge TP in return. My son didn't want a huge clean up (we are on an acre) so we dug the scare crow out of a box and have it set up to surprise attack the "gaggle of girls". They haven't come yet but we will know when we hear the screams . . . lol!
I have a "New" heron preventer, my DH picked up a very large stuffed toy Rottweiller dog at a garage sale, thinking he would suprise me he set it by the pond. the local heron is scared of it... just flies over, circles and leaves. So far it has been two weeks and no visits, DH moves the toy every two days to another place by the pond.
I had a pond at the last house that had 4 LArge Koi. I placed cast iron cranes around the pond-- never any problems. When we moved I took the cranes, left the fish as the new owners wanted them and moved on. One week later I received a call that racoons had gotten all of the koi! We now have our koi pond in our pool cage in a converted jacuzzi--Every so often I wonder if the racoons and bobcats will break thru the screen, but I think the dogs may be a deterrent. This is my fourth pond and the most successful-- I have my vandas over the pond with automatic sprinklers and just wish it were more visible, but I still enjoy it.
I have more of puddle than a small pond... I do enjoy listening to the trials and successes ya'll have.. I understand the strugle.. as I combat the squrrels..and an occasional raccoon...and ravens... Hawks sometimes land.. but the cat has made it inside / outside for 16 years
Truly sorry for all the heron problems. SO FAR have only seen 1 once and he was looking right down onto my pond. I do have a metal heron out there given by a friend and maybe he thought the territory was already taken as he flew away.
On the back of our property we have a large canal where I have seen one many times. Not supposed to shoot them here but oh well he had better leave my fish alone. Now we have a brown marsh hawk hanging around but so far he has stayed down in the pasture and I don't think he knows the fish are in the front yard. A friend who lives right in town says she has had them swoop down and grab up the smaller birds. She has feeders out so gets many birds.
I sure would hate to have to net the pond BUT. So far in 2 years nothing has taken the fish. Famous last words. We have sandhill cranes in our pasture all the time but they have never shown any interest. I love listening to the cranes. They have a very distinctive call and are beautiful and of course protected by law.
Well its almost daylight time to get outside and get busy. Have a good weekend all.