October 08, 2004

Heron Proof Your Pond

Save Your Fish: Heron-Proof Your Pond

Herons are beautiful, graceful, and . . . hungry. When you notice fish vanishing mysteriously, think ďheronĒ Ė especially in the spring and beginning of summer when new, baby herons need feeding.

Grown herons consume almost a pound of fish daily. That amounts to about three, seven-inch, $40 koi of the lower-priced variety. Colorful, flashing fish in a shallow pond tempt herons beyond any far-fetched capability to resist. If you donít do something quickly, your fish will soon be history.

Characteristically timid, herons usually make their feeding forays in the quiet hours of early morning or evening.

To hamper herons from feasting on your fish, here are some simple solutions. But donít lose your temper and harm or possibly kill one of these protected-species birds.

Erecting a net six to twelve inches above the water of your pond proves the most successful method in protecting fish. Tautness is critical, though. Some herons may try landing right on top of it, and when it collapses, will impale fish right through the netting.

Gadgets used to frighten herons are fairly effective. With some, when the bird trips a wire, noise scares it away Ė sometimes inaudible to humans, depending on the type. Infrared-detection devices spray jets of water to scare them off.

Some people try plastic herons because of the heronís territorial reputation and the fact that the birds donít like to feed near other herons. These work pretty well until mating season rolls around. Then these faux herons may actually serve as heron magnets.

Limiting heron access to your pond may be the best idea yet. Plant densely growing, tall marginal pond plants around your water garden and make the pond sides steep, with water at least a foot below the pond edge. If the birds canít reach the water, they canít reach the fish, and hopefully, theyíll fly off to better fishing luck elsewhere.

Posted by bfogle at October 8, 2004 11:21 PM
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