Blue Heron Warning Report
We get dozens of phone calls each fall, right around the end of September into early October to inquire about an unusually large bird hanging around their pond. After I break the news, you can only imagine the horror on the face of the person that has no idea the bird is actually their too hunt their fish!
Let me just give everyone a friendly warning right here and now. If you have not been visited by a Blue Heron, YET, consider yourself lucky. However, make no mistake about it, these birds are everywhere and when they are on the move, migrating, they just might pit stop at your pond for a little snack; your favorite Koi or fish!
Do yourself and your fish a favor and take a couple of precautions to detour these pesky predators. Do a tune-up on your Scarecrow motion sensor device and if you don’t have one, install one ASAP. Other methods to deter the feathered fish eating predator include putting a net over the pond, stringing piano wire above the pond, installing a patio-style cover, installing fish tunnels or caves for the fish to hide in, putting a dog on patrol next to the pond 24 hours a day, by designing bigger, deeper ponds and I have even heard contrary to my belief, that the alligator decoy works wonders, even here in California!
It has been said that these birds do not tolerate each other, are extremely territorial and will not allow another Heron in close proximity. However, do not fall for; “A statue of a blue heron will keep the bird away”, because I have reports of sexually aroused herons, fornicating with heron statues! Seriously no joke, this is a TRUE STORY!
Now, let me share with you one of my scariest personal pond keeper moments! Several years ago, I was awakened just before dawn by my dogs outside barking franticly. Instinct overtook me; I just knew I had to get to my pond and FAST!
I ran outside, in my skivvies, around the bend, approached my pond and standing in the top shelf of my pond was this humongous, Great Blue Heron! My heart immediately sank. I waved my arms, yelling at the top of my lungs and just before this bird, possibly The Spawn of Satan Himself, displayed this massive wing span of over SIX FEET, the bird glanced behind me as it lifted off.
Freaked by this emotional visual in the birds face, I spun around just in time to watch, what I can only assume was The Spawn of Satan’s mate; lift off from a low branch in my Cedar Deadora Tree over hanging my pond. To add intensity to the already intense moment, the bird had to swoop in a downward motion, towards me, to navigate below the limbs of the tree as a part of its getaway plan! Further solidifying my doubt of the myth, that a statue of a Heron will protect your fish from predation by the Heron!
As you can only imagine, I dropped to my stomach in the cold wet dirt, remember in my skivvies! Oh you think that’s funny do you? Just think what the early bird joggers thought! This pond happens to be in my front yard.
It may seem like these nasty water fowl predators, i.e. egrets, night herons and blue herons, have not bothered your fish all summer, but let me remind you that your water temperatures and the metabolism of your fish are at their peaks in the heat of summer!
You will find that as your water temperature cools in the fall, so will the metabolism of your fish, equaling slower reflex movements from your fish meaning, your fish become much EASIER PREY for the Tyrannosaurus rex of the pond world!
I personally have had the most success keeping these pesky birds away with the use of a motion sensor sprinkler device called, a Scarecrow. Be sure you have a working Scarecrow motion sensor for every 100 square feet of surface area in your water feature to detour predators from hunting your scaled pets that deliver so much tranquility to you year round.
Understand that by design the Blue Heron hunts fish; that by design, camouflage extremely well, in natural ponds, lakes, rivers and streams with sometimes little to no visibility in the water! So you see why a small pond, with brightly colored fish, in crystal clear, two-foot deep water is like a dream meal for these birds.
You have to understand that as the Blue Heron flies over your home on the way to its local fishing hole and spies your pond; a smorgasbord is what crosses the bird’s mind.
Make no mistake; The Blue Heron is a very successful & persistent predator that will literally wait at your water’s edge, motionless, for hours on end, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The bird even has a trick to lure your fish to the surface for easy pickins’. Regurgitation! That’s right the Blue Heron will often blow chunks, Ralph, barf, puke or whatever you want to call it, into the water, luring your fish to come up for a tasty snack and then, become the meal themselves!
The very latest breaking news I have on these crafty bird’s habits are hunting your ponds on the full moon cycle! These birds are crepuscular, which I have always thought meant that they were by your pond hunting at dawn and dusk! The actual meaning of crepuscular is; active in the twilight! I now have record of a Great Blue Heron hunting right here in my home town, Redlands, California at 10:30 PM on a full moon in September!
Consider starting a Pond Predator Neighborhood Watch Program with your pond buddies! One morning on my way to work I got a call from a fellow pond owner and he said frantically, “Hey Eric, a Blue Heron just left my place and it’s heading in your direction!”
I thought, Cranky! I couldn’t remember if I had turned my Scarecrow back on after feeding my wife’s goldfish pond that morning, so I immediately flipped a U turn, quite possibly illegally, and broke several speed limits headed for home!
As I pulled into the driveway, I couldn’t believe my eyes; the Great Blue Heron was standing right next to my pond and YES the motion sensor was OFF! As the bird took flight, off above the roof tops, I picked up the phone and called a couple pond owner buddies in the wayward direction of the Heron’s route!
Don’t forget to install fresh nine volt batteries to your Scarecrows on a monthly basis because these Feathered Predators will make daily rounds to your water feature testing your consistency! The day that you forget to turn your sensor on, turn off the water source or your battery dies, the bird will be there to capitalize on your forgetfulness.
Respect this amazing bird and focus on the legal things you can do to protect your prized pond fish. Shooting a protected bird species could cost you a fine of up to $20,000.00. Scarecrow motion sensors still cost under a hundred dollars.
The Pond Digger