Herons in for lunch...

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Avalon, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. adavisus

    adavisus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    One of the worst aspects of heron attacks is worrying... You know the fish are missing... were they stolen, by what... how? That can really make you fret some time

    With good heron defenses, casualties can be slight or zero, but, the fish may well be in hiding for weeks...

    You can pat yourself on the back, for picking the more faster moving koi when you originally chose your fish, these are nature's 'survivors'

    The time when predatory birds go pond hopping is determined by local factors, drought, floods or freezes have made difficult or their usual hunting places, early morning and fog is a factor to make them bold enough to go close to places where ponds are, compact sushi bars preferred....

    Herons are creatures of habit, they will 'tour' their favourite water holes quite religiously. When they spot a new pond with fish they will add that pond to their schedule and turn up like clockwork with the same routine...

    Their eyesight is extremely good, it is something of a big advantage if the fish turn out to be garishly bright koi or goldfish... Not unlike a neon sign shouting 'sushi bar' loud and clear...

    The loathsome fishbag on stilts might circle a promising pond a couple of times about 400 yards away, checking the whole area then appear to disappear over the horizon... They will disappear if they have spotted anything lurking, perhaps a cat, or fox is about...

    Several minutes later, they will overfly it once or twice, gliding quite slow, to bank and turn and seem to go away. Five minutes or so they then come very slow, steady and at a low height from a completely different angle as if to take by surprise any skulking entity... hedgehopping, literally...

    Should they spot one little thing that frets them, they will abort landing...

    They want the pond all to themselves, with no complications...

    Only then, when they are absolutely sure it's safe to plunder, will they come in and land in a high place overlooking the pond. Perhaps a chimney, or a small tree close to the pond.

    Herons quite often explore ponds in gardens during times of poor visibility, fog, at first light when their usual haunts have become difficult, for example when floods have clouded waters, or when ice has formed, the conditions for likely heron attacks can be predicted if you keep an eye on the weather forecast...

    When they have landed at a high vantage point overlooking the pond area, they really take their time with those beady little eyes, to make sure nothing is lurking before flapping to the best landing spot close to the pond...

    I is not unusual for them to go about in pairs...

    Should your pond be netted they will go to some lengths to try and get within, finding or any gap that they can... When they are safely within the net, that is a good time to, errr....

    ...surprise them

    regards, andy
  2. jd boy

    jd boy LawnSite Member
    from nw ohio
    Messages: 173

    personally, creating barriers of fishing line, putting netting across the water, or having those korney aligator things negates the entire purpose of having a tranquil water garden.

    Proper construction eliminates predator problems by giving them some area of refuge. An aquascape style pond naturally does this by providing all sorts of holes and hiding spots. We generally try to build some small "swim throughs" or caves where fish can hide. These areas also promote breeding!

    Couple this with some aquatic plants and your plenty safe.
  3. horselady

    horselady LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I also have a koi pond. Our first pond was 34" deep with a few shallow sides. Get rid of the shallow sides if you have any or can. That is a wide-open invitation. Heron love to walk in and help themselves. Also they cannot catch fish lower than they stand.

    (1) We have a "scarecrow" also and it has worked. What setting are you putting it on? We have ours on 6 or 7. Make sure to check the battery. We usually have to change ours a few times a year.

    (2) We did put a grid 6 inches (the length of the pond) apart of fishing line over the old pond. The whole purpose of the fishing line is Herron have an instinct of not getting tangled and that deters them. Make sure it's the shiny stuff so they can see it. We used 6 inch galvanized nails to secure the line.

    (3) We also added spindrifter bottom drains in the new pond and the constant movement makes it hard to see the koi.

    Do they have any place to hide? Our deck hangs out over the pond. I remember one of our newer koi got to see the Herron and he just froze while the others were hiding. We had a cave in our old pond. Good and bad idea, they would hang out in there most of the day; however, without the cave, now they have to swim.

    Our new pond (5 feet deep) does not have any shallow sides only a 2 foot shelve so we can get in and out of the pond. We still use the scarecrow but not the fishing line. The construction of our pond was to eliminate an open invitation to the Herron.

    I saw a Herron land 3 times (in 3 days) by our old pond and have not seen one since our new pond was put in in July. We have lakes and a fisheries near by and now they leave us alone. Now will be the time they are migrating.

    Hope this helps!!
  4. horselady

    horselady LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    (4) There is also an electric fence made for ponds. The only bad thing it is not real attractive but they say it will do the trick.

    The other items I can live with and really dont detract from the pond itself. You won't notice the fishing line as much as you think.

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