Blue Herons and Koi –The Thief in the Pond!
Herons are majestic birds that look great in wildlife programs but not when you see one in the vicinity of your backyard fish pond. Chances are they are eyeing up your pond fish as an easy meal. They tend to make an appearance in the spring or early summer.
Have you noticed a gradual decline in the number of Koi or goldfish in your pond? If so it may be this pond pirate at work. Spring is the time of year when hungry baby herons are begging for a tasty morsel to eat. Do not let your Koi or gold fish appear on the specials board!
Herons are capable of eating copious amounts of fish, on a daily basis. An adult heron can easily consume up to 1lb of fish per day. This equates to roughly 3 x 7 inch long Koi that cost about $70 each.
As the heron rests on a post or tree it keeps its eager eyes out for movement of any description. A jumping or flashing pond fish is more than probably going to draw its attention sooner or later.
Being a creature of habitat and also territorial, a heron will scour its territory and keep a mental note of where it can get an easy meal. Rest assured if a heron has managed to get one of your pond fish, it will be back looking for more.
Use pond netting to create a protective barrier between your backyard fish pond and predatory birds. Ensure that the netting is taught, at a distance between 6 inches to 12 inches above the pond surface. This method is one of the most successful ways of preventing herons from eating your fish.
Remember me saying that herons are territorial birds? Well, a useful device that works really well and is also low cost, is a great blue heron animal decoy since herons do not like to eat near other herons. However, there is a downside to this heron deterrent; mating season may actually cause your plastic heron to become some birds cupid!
Also, why not try marginal pond plants as a means to deter these feathered nuisances? Plant aquatic plants around the outsides of your garden pond and make the sides quite steep. If the heron is unable to access the fish then it will quickly learn to try somewhere else.
If herons are still coming around your pond, there are gadgets that may be effective. They make a noise and squirt compressed air at an intruder is effective. Some even spit water when the animal comes within reach of a sensor.
Hopefully, at least one of these tactics will save your pond fish from being lunch!