Personal Predator Moment
Now, let me share with you one of my scariest personal pond predator 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 no doubt, 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 back at 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 Deodara 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! Yes, this pond is in my front yard.
It may seem like these nasty water fowl pond 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 fish metabolisms 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 Pterodactyl of today’s pond world!
I personally have had the most success keeping these pesky birds away with the use of a motion detector sprinkler device called, a Scarecrow. Be sure you have a working Scarecrow motion detector for every 100 square feet of surface area in your water feature to deter 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 pond 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 birds habits are hunting your ponds on the full moon cycle! These birds are crepuscular, which I 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 Redlands at 10:30 PM on the 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 Motion Detectors 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 my Scarecrow motion detectors were OFF! As the Blue Heron took flight, off above the roof tops, I picked up the phone and called a couple pond owner buddies that live in the wayward direction of the Heron’s route!
Don’t forget to install fresh nine volt batteries to your Scarecrow Motion Detectors on a monthly basis because these Feathered Pond Predators will make daily rounds to your water feature testing your consistency! The day that you forget to turn your Scarecrow Motion Detectors on, turn off the water source or your battery dies, the Blue Heron or similar bird of prey will be there to capitalize on your forgetfulness.
The Pond Predator Help Hotline is (800) 522-5043.