Herons...

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

I know we've discussed this before, but we are getting literally crucified by a heron. I thought our ponds were deep enough (and our top pond is), but it is getting into the lower pond and has gotten at least one and maybe some. We have the fake alligator, that's worthless, this is our second heron invasion. Any ideas?

Thumbnail by bsavage
Saint Charles, IL(Zone 5a)

bsavage, you have a very nice looking pond. I have a problem every Spring and Fall too. When I first started water gardening I lost many fish to the herons. I have found the best cure is to net the entire pond for a few weeks. Cosmetically I don't like it but it discourages the heron(s). They tend to stay away because they cannot get to the fish. I always know when the heron(s) have been by the pond because the fish stay at the very bottom of the pond or underneath the bridge that gives them coverage. It also deters the coons that come around too. Hope this helps.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks, backspace. We've added more things for them to hide under. Might have to do the net thing. It's good to hear that you don't have to leave it on year round.

Saint Charles, IL(Zone 5a)

bsavage ,the more places for them to hide the better. You never know when those heron will strike. They are so camouflaged in the trees around my property. I also get the little bird too that someone told me was a kingfisher, he likes the fish too. Keep in touch and let me know how it works out for you.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks again!

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

What do I know? Just a thought. Maybe an alligator in Arizona is a stretch for the heron. What is his natural predator? No idea. But maybe a little investigation would turn up some sort of deterent. Fake snake? Really don't have a clue but you get the jist. Sure hope you are able to find a solution. After watching the building of your pond from the beginning, sure don't want you to have trouble now.

Ciao,
LouC

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

I got the bird nets that you drape over trees, and put them over my pond (floated a couple of beach balls to keep them off the surface of the water) After a few weeks, the herons moved on. They tend to go where they can wade in the shallow water and get to food easily. The nets made it not so easy. They say if you dont have shallow wading areas, they are greatly distracted by steep deep edges. I eventually changed the edges to go straight down instantly, and left only a few plant shelf areas. It has really reduced the problem.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks, all. We only have a small area of plant shelves, but apparently just enough. Lou C... tonight the heron flew over, and it was being chased by one of the hawks that live here! I google info, and birds of prey (including hawks), can go after the heron. Go Hawks!!!

Clayton, NC(Zone 8a)

A net of a 4" (?) mesh... as used to make the goal net in soccer always struck me as a convenient predator net to deter herons, suspended 2' over a pond as an effective barrier, not so difficult to stretch over planted areas, fairly easy to put up or put away...

Regards, andy
http://s93.photobucket.com/albums/l42/adavisus/

Virginia Beach, VA

It is hearrt breaking to loss kois to the herons and I say it again that netting is the only way. there are several ponders with nets over their pond and here is mine. Az ponds sells netting and very reasonable. Bellie

Thumbnail by bellieg
Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

That is a good setup, bellieg.

Kansasville, WI(Zone 5a)

Sorry to hear about your Herons. Let me try to explain what I have seen. It is 4 tall poles, 10' or so put in the ground and strong fishing line is strung back and forth across it in a square pattern. It is kept up all year, because it is so tall you can walk under it and its barely visible when you look up. Its cheap to make. Good Luck.

Sarasota, FL

A scarecrow works good. It is like a sprinkler

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks for the input, all! So far, the hawks are still chasing it away!

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

I just use the bird netting for fruit trees for a couple of weeks, they seem to then move on.....Every year about the same time, they come back. Herons (and others like them) are not water birds, they are wading birds, so can only handle the shallow water at the edges, and wade into slightly deeper water, but will not get their feathers wet, so basically the depth of their leg length is their max. Deep straight down edges can prevent them entering your pond. My larger pond is now pretty much a heron free zone. Every now and then a heron will attempt to take a fish from the edge, but it usually injures them, but they can't take them. My shallow pond needs the netting from time to time, but I don't leave it on permanently.
Heartbreaking to lose a great fish, but....I have LaserKoi's email, and I order something pretty to replace it!
The "scarecrows" do infact work, against other creatures too....birds, dogs, cats, racoons and possums, kids,lol, etc..... It shoots a water jet at whatever crosses the beam.....you just attach them to your hose....

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

We only have a small area where there are shallow plant shelves, heck, it's really hard for us to get in! I think it (the heron) has fallen in during it's efforts. Lots of icky residue on the water surface when it's gotten in... we don't know if that is oil from it's feathers or something more sinister. It has not been in the pond in days now, we didn't see it come by at all today, and I work from home, my computer is right in front of the window looking out at the pond.

Does anyone know a good place to get those water shooting scarecrows?

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Funny you should say that! That's how I know someone is missing, the surface oil/goo that's on my pond! It always indicates that the heron was there. He always comes just at daybreak, when the sun is barely coming up, still slightly dark outside....
I've seen the scarecrows on ebay, but have also seen them on the online nursery links. I'll see if I can find a company name for you and attach a link.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks, MerryMary! I'll check ebay, too.

Pickens, SC(Zone 7a)

I tried the Scarecrow too and it does work well but it couldnt help me with the birds that dive into the water so I had to resort to the netting. I hated doing it but got tired of loosing fish.

charlotte

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hey brenda, sorry to hear you're getting hit. I, too, would've thought your pond was deep enough to deter them. I've heard stories about herons figuring out those motion sensing shooters.The big problem for you is how out in the open the pond is. Covering is your best bet, something like what bellieg has (very nice btw!) A PVC frame (make it as big as you need to, putting in tee's for reinforcement across the whole things), cover with a nursery netting, or a gazebo built over the whole thing.

I live near the gilbert riparian preserve and have had them visit but never in the pond. I always thought the depth was a factor but I also know the shade thingy around the back keeps them from having a good takeoff because they're so big.

Good luck!

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks, Lynn. Yes, we need more cover, that's for sure. Apparently it is getting in at the one shallow area at the end, so if nothing else, I may have to net that area. I think you're right about them not having room to take off from your pond, your shade area and structure are awesome, and I can see how protected they make the pond.

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

I hate to see have to net the pond......I'm sure that wonderful man of yours will make you something very nice!

Virginia Beach, VA

I can still see my kois through the net and it is tall enough to work inside with out bending. My first netting was draped over the pond and when our son visited he made a comment that it was soooo unsightly!! We paid a fortune for it and to cover it that way does not do any justice and so he designed it. Now I can have peace of mind and the herons still come. They are huge!!!! Netting is the only way if you want peace of mind. Good luck. bellie

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Here is the culprit...

Thumbnail by bsavage
Eureka, CA

Good thread.... I've had a small (very) pond for only a year now, and have wanted to add some fish but worried I'd lose them to raccoons very quickly. Hadn't thought about birds.... I did look briefly but didn't see anything specific to coons. Do most folks use the netting to deter them? Is that enough?

Thanks in advance for any info you can help me with!

Sanna

Bucyrus, OH(Zone 6a)

A garden cat might help. Unfortunately they can prey on smaller birds. :(

Desoto, TX(Zone 8a)

A shame that the Heron is such a predator. A really beautiful photo.

Allentown, NJ(Zone 6b)

I used an 18 inch fence, came in brown or green wire, around the pond twice. Space 2nd one 12 inches apart from the 1st. A heron cannot "step over"! I concealed it with hostas and pachasandra. From as little as 5 feet you couldn't see the fence. Heron used to sit on the porch roof and try to figure out how to get over and finally quit trying.
Good luck

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Mare, that is an interesting idea. This heron always lands in an open area behind the pond, and walks around and up to the pond. Hmmmmm...

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

Bird netting used here also. But in addition to the heron problem, I also get snakes that eat my goldfish and shubunkins. My bird netting is laid on the surface so that it is not horribly noticable and then a couple of glass balls under the net to make sure the net does not sink below surface level.

Victoria Harbour, ON

Put a fake "heron" that I cut and painted next to my pond...

Thumbnail by Bettypauze
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

BettyP....Beautiful!

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

That is beautiful!!

Niles, MI(Zone 5a)

If all else fails, I have a recipe for "Stuffed Heron"......................HaHa!!
I used large fire crackers, M-80s, after 5 of them the heron left and never came back. I lit them and fired them with a slingshot, at him of coiurse.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

That sounds effective!!

Sarasota, FL

Just as I read the title again
Heron= part of having a pond.
Hope it has gone away.

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

With some encouragement, it has been away. ☺

Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL(Zone 9b)

Uhg.....heron took my gin rin kohaku butterfly yesterday...as I was running toward the pond screaming at him. Back on the hunt to find one...
blah...

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that, Mary. It is so upsetting when something is stalking our pets, and that's the way I feel about it. Just as bad as if something were stalking one of our dogs or cats.

Hugs to you...

Brenda

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Awe Darn MerryMary. I've got a raccoon hunting here in the dead of winter. Luckily the koi are laying low in the deepest part of the pond. Next spring it will probably be my turn with heron problems. Lost one fish last year. It's maddening. Hang in there MerryMary.

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