HERON DETERRENTS FOR YOUR KOI POND

By: admin | Posted On: April 6th, 2011 | 59 Comments | In: Blue Heron

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Got heron issues? It’s OK we can talk about it. You’re not alone. Many pond owners at some point or another will deal with some sort of predator, heron or otherwise, that haunts their pond. Being prepared with some know-how when it comes to deal with them is something all pond owners should strive for. The following is a compilation of some of the top ten methods of dealing with the predatory Great Blue Herons. With a little imagination many other types of deterrents can be thought up, and many of these methods will and do apply to other pond predators that we deal with world wide. What deters a heron will probably deter a pelican or crane as well. Some of these methods may even deter your next door neighbor! Now that I have your attention lets get to the “TOP 10 LIST” of heron deterrents!
• DECOYS/SCARECROWS – There are many types of decoys available to help deter the Great Blue Heron. There are owls, coyotes, snakes, and crocodiles but the most popular decoy is a fake Great Blue Heron. The decoy is shaped, colored, and decorated to appear like a small 30”H GBH. The theory is that herons like to hunt alone; and this is true when it is a smaller body of water like a backyard pond. However, if a larger heron sees a smaller heron hunting pond side there is nothing that will keep the bigger bird from chasing away the smaller bird from the hunting grounds. I have seen video of a rather large Great Blue Heron beating the heck out of a decoy, and the real heron won! All things considered, even if the fake little heron decoy keeps the hungry real life heron away from your pond even just once or twice, then it is money well spent. A good thing to do also is to move the decoy heron to different areas from time to time so it is not too easy for the real GBH to figure out it is looking at a mannequin of itself. Other decoys available are owl decoys, wide eyed and freaky looking, some of them even come with sound effects and moving parts; these would be the most effective decoy, but it will also scare away other more desirable birds from your pond too! I’ve seen decoy coyotes that can help as well. Remember the idea is to have a multi level approach to keeping the heron away, and a fake snarling coyote near the pond (not necessarily next to) may save the day for you. Remember if it works even once, it is money well spent. Another great decoy to use is an artificial koi, called “de-koi”, these life size and realistic looking koi fish can be tethered in your pond to float just below water surface. When a heron is hunting your pond it will try to work as little as possible for its meal, and when it sees that big juicy koi just hovering there like easy pickins’, the heron will likely attack the de-koi which creates an alert to the real fish that can now go into hiding with the presence of a predator brought to their attention. The de-koi is a brilliant last defense for your koi, the down side is that the GBH has to be IN your pond for it to work. The Scarecrow is not a straw filled, flannel shirted, wide brimmed hat, man on a stick; no, the Scarecrow is a motion activated mechanism that points to its target and shoots a sudden and startling burst of water at or in the direction of what ever is moving around your pond, including YOU! They can be very effective the first few times which makes them a good investment. This heron deterrent also should be moved around the pond to keep any persistent predators surprised at the blast of water. This is a good deterrent to have in your arsenal of defenses. Approx. cost $45.00 – $120.00
• SHADOW/SILHOUETTE CUT OUTS – We’ve all seen the shadow cutout of the leaning cowboy, or the even more popular German Shepard cut outs that are used to keep geese away from municipal, golf course ponds, or even open fields. Well, why shouldn’t koi pond owners use them too? A cut out can go a long way in protecting your pond from predators and it does not even need to be next to the pond. Strategically place the cut out in an area of proximity to the pond that you are sure will be seen by the heron while it is scouting out your pond. This cut out should give the bird enough doubt about the area being safe to hunt that it will likely choose to move on to another hunting ground that does not have the shadowy outline of a large dog standing close by. Approx. cost $120.00
• PLANTINGS – Let nature do the work. Some strategic landscaping can help to limit access to your pond. In areas that it will look aesthetically appealing pick some landscape plants or bushes that can also act as a border around your pond to make access from some sides difficult. Herons are very cautious and seem to prefer areas that offer easy access and quick get away potential. The right landscape plants can offer your koi and pond fish protection, enhance the beauty of your landscape, and create habitat for more desirable critters. Win-win. Approx cost $60.00+
• DEPTH/SIZE – If your pond is less than 24” deep, you may have unknowingly become the proprietor of your neighborhoods “Great Blue Sushi Bar”. Smaller prefab ponds or ponds that are not excavated deep enough to keep fish are easy for the GBH to clean out in no time. Most herons will not hunt in water much deeper than 18” but let’s not make it too easy for them. If you are in the planning process of a pond, go deeper, go bigger, even if you think it may be deep and big enough, depth is one of the best ways to keep your beautiful koi safe and long lived. Herons are not diving birds, they spear their prey and if the fish can stay deep, they can stay away. Go deep and go big when planning or re-installing your pond. Approx. cost varies
• TUNNELS/CAVES – Caves and tunnels can be planned as part of your pond installation, and should be. An experienced pond builder will likely make a tunnel or cave as part of their design without it being requested. What professional pond builder would not want their ponds to be safe from predators? If they don’t suggest it, you should. Caves and tunnels also make your pond more interesting to watch and they add a great measure of built in safety for your fish; as well as a shady area to get out of that blaring summer sun. There are also “koi caves”, “koi castles”, etc. that can be put into your pond after it is built if your pond does not already have caves or tunnels. Approx. cost $40.00
• TALK RADIO – Ok, now here is my secret method. Talk radio. A Great Blue Heron will not usually want to get to close to an area that has human activity. Try leaving an outdoor radio left on by your pond while you are away from your pond. A GBH will not get too close to any area that has human voices chatting away, so any good news station or talk radio station will work very well at keeping our big blue friend away. If you really want to terrify the bird, put on The Howard Stern show, Great Blue Herons and most local wildlife may never return! (j.k. love ya Howard!) Approx. cost $15.00
• PREDATOR CALLS – On one hand they are hilarious, and I have found it is a great way to scare not just herons but daughters too. Yes that’s right, a motion activated predator call broadcaster. Broadcasting the sound of calls from various land predators and birds of prey is a technique that has been used by wineries and other agricultural industries to keep away pesky crows and other critters that want to eat their crops. Now small models are available that can be installed close to your pond. Let the neighbors try to figure out why growling noises and screams from large birds of prey keep coming from your general direction, the GBH does not have time for that and the first call will have him high tailing it out of the vicinity of your pond! Approx. Cost $90.00+
• FISHING LINE/NETTING – Steal a technique from koi breeders and farmers. Many koi breeders and farmers will use fishing line crossed over the pond to prevent the Great Blue Heron from entering the pond. A clear 30# test to 50# test fishing line strategically criss-crossing your pond is a very effective way to keep the bird out of your pond, or at the very least it makes it extremely difficult for the GBH to maneuver in your pond causing the bird to be frustrated and panicked, alerting your fish to the predators presence. The fishing line is nice because it is not very visible and makes for a great way to baffle the Great Blue Heron. Creating a simple grid of fishing line over the surface or main entry points of the pond is inexpensive, and easy to set up. Installing netting over the surface of your pond is by far the most effective means of protecting your pond, and probably the least aesthetic. And not even netting is 100% protection; herons will walk out onto the netting and try to spear the fish anyway, only to lose them because they can’t get the fish through the mesh. The injuries from spearing can and does kill fish, so the pond owner is still losing fish but at least knows that the heron did not GET the meal. Netting comes in various mesh sizes, colors, and materials. Some netting can be almost invisible when well installed. Black netting with a 1” mesh pulled tight does not look too bad. I am not a big fan of the reflective tape for a backyard pond, maybe a piece or two. However; for ponds located in more open areas or where aesthetics aren’t imperative, the use of reflective tape around a pond can be very effective. This type of tape also deters geese, ducks, and other types of water fowl that may not be wanted in your pond. Reflective tape is usually attached to stakes at about 24” high. The stakes are located around the perimeter of the pond. Approx. cost $3.00 to $30.00+
• AERATORS/SURFACE AGITATORS – Aeration in a pond serves many purposes that benefit the health of the pond and the fish. But consider another use for an aerator as a way to obscure the view into your pond. The less visible the inside of your pond is, the less interest it will stir in a heron to investigate your pond. Aerators can be put on timers to run while you’re away for the day. Every little thing helps, and you get the health benefits of the additional oxygen into your pond. Approx. cost $60.00+
• BE A HUMAN/GET A DOG – Let’s face it humans make most animals on this planet nervous. Humans make me a little nervous, and I’m pretty human. With a heron use your humanity to your advantage, it’s our 3 lb brain against their little walnut right? So what scares a heron? Size and noise, so show them who’s boss. Extend your arms and wave them, you now appear bigger to the heron. Yell “Hey!”, don’t use expressions like “get outta here!” or “go away”, they don’t know what it means, it takes longer to say, and it cannot be said as forcefully as “Hey!”. “Hey!” is one syllable and can be said with force. If all us humans say “Hey!” then herons will learn that word means threat. If they feel threatened, they are less likely to return. Or, have you been looking for a good excuse to get that dog you’ve been wanting. Most dogs will offer great heron deterrence. The Great Pyrenees has been touted as a great protector of ponds. Maybe some day a new breed the “Koi Shepard” will be created. Who knows? Approx. cost FREE, adopt from you local humane society

With your creativity there are numerous other deterrents for the Great Blue Heron that will keep them away from your backyard pond. If you have some ideas, not involving guns, nooses, or bare handed throttling; share them here. Herons can be persistent but they can also be deterred. Sometimes your pond may have to go through a period of having various methods of deterrence around it but with time, and with the herons ability to learn that it is not welcomed at your pond; many of these devices/methods can be reined back a bit. It is better to rely on several means of predator deterrent rather than choosing just one. Most choices are very easy to set up or deal with, and some of them are comical at times. And remember to use a multi level deterrent plan. Oh, what we do for our fish!
The LOVE YOUR POND blog is written by Mike Gannon of Full Service Aquatics. Mike is a professional pond builder and expert in the broad topics of fishkeeping and water gardening. Mike also produces THE POND HUNTER video series which can be viewed on Youtube. “In The Pursuit Of All Things Aquatic” the Pond Hunter videos provide how-to pond construction videos, pondumentaries, and videos of related interest. Mike resides in Summit, New Jersey with his wife and 2 daughters. To visit his website go to www.loveyourpond.com and visit The Pond Hunter at www.youtube.com/thepondhunter. All copyrights to this material belong to Mike Gannon.

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  1. Andy Cordy Says:

    on April 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Many thanks for a very well reasoned blog.
    I’d worked out the “depth” issue for myself and will use depth of water for my main defense but I’m grateful for the tips about fishing line and tunnels which I will certainly use in the shallows.
    Many years ago, my Dad’s neighbor, a keep pond keeper with Koi and Orf in a tiny, urban courtyard garden surrounded by buildings and busy streets, lost their entire population in 20 minutes. How the bird managed to fly away after such a feed was a mystery. Their pond is netted now and it spoils the effect of their wonderful Zen like garden, but it does put off the birds!
    I have an ancient, 30 Meter square pond to refurbish in a rural location and intend to build another alongside to facilitate the safe draining of the old pond. Having only built small urban garden ponds before it is another world entirely but I have seen the heron feeding out there. The old pond should be roughly 30 inches deep but the main fault is that it leaks into a nearby well and from there into a stream so the depth is drastically reduced and all but the frogs are easy pickings.

    It will be a while before I really get going with it as our house is also a ruin but I’m really looking forward to it. We will keep common carp in the old pond as was originally intended when it was a monastic pond and in the new pond I will give some brown trout a try for the table.

    Warmest regards

    Andy Cordy
    West Wales, UK

  2. Mgannon Says:

    on June 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Hello Andy, maybe you could send me some photos of those ponds. I am very interested to see them, they sound amazing. I am intrigued with “old” ponds. thanks for reading and commenting. I hope to hear from you again! Take care. Mike

  3. aquarium fish keeping blog Says:

    on November 7, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Oscar fish are a very aggressive type of fish. I also had this same type of fish and they would also do the same thing. The only explanation for this is their aggressive behavior. Mine lived for 12 years before dying. Once they get big enough you can by the feeder Goldfish at the store and they will eat those. It is around 8-12 cents a fish and it is lots of fun to watch them chow down enjoy!

  4. Adam Richardson (UK) Says:

    on April 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

    For those who have small backyard/garden fishponds…..
    Hi I have x 2 small fishponds. One is shallow pebble pool 2 foot x 8 foot and 18 inches at deepest point. The other is round ( 6 feet) and very deep. Both are well stocked with goldfish. We have a family of herons living nearby in the woods. I cover the smaller pool
    with a large 8 foot x 2 foot plywood ‘shelf’ in the evenings before I go in the house. It fits neatly over the pond, takes about 30 seconds to do it, I remove it in the mornings, if I need too. Nothing can get near or enter the water, its an inexpensive and thorough heron deterent, that is unless we have a heron visitor who is also a weightlifter.
    The round pond is covered with a ‘wirlygig washing line’ or washing tower. It is closed up and removed during the day, come night unfolds like an umberella over the whole circumrence of the pond, I have added some additional ‘ties’ to the already tough, nylon
    ties, the whole ‘umbrella’ is waterproof and its very cost effective. I hope these deterents will help you save the life of your fish. It takes only less than a minute to set up, albeit you have to do it every evening, believe me its worth it.
    Best wishes Adam.

  5. Mgannon Says:

    on April 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for reading the blog and adding some great tips Adam! Cheeres!

  6. ksaline Says:

    on May 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I have 8000 gal pond with 36 inches at it deepest part. I cover the shallow. Edge with pond netting and let the deepest part open. Until one day I witnessed the GBH outsmarted my two scarecrows and managed to stand still in the 36 inches deep part of the pond. I took the whole netting out and put fishing line grids. I hope this will do better now.

  7. Mgannon Says:

    on May 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hello Ksaline! Thanks for your interesting comment. It show just how persistent and smart the great blue herons are. Sometimes they use our pond defenses against us! I think the fishing line will work very well for your pond type. Every pond needs a slightly different type of defense. Moving the scarecrows around may help a bit too if you have not already done that. Thanks again. Mike

  8. Esther Says:

    on May 17, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I just installed a scarecrow over my little pond here in Austin, my fish are being eaten by herons (found one of my comets floating under the net with stab wounds behind his head) and snakes (found a garten snake trapped in my netting around the pond), after reading the guide that came with the scarecrow I am thinking it may not work against a snake since it uses infrared to detect heat of the animals. Has anyone had any experience with snake deterrents?

  9. Mgannon Says:

    on May 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Hi, thanks for the comment! I don’t think the scarecrow will work for snakes at all. If snakes are an issue try planting mint around your pond to keep them away. Mint is an irritant to a lot of critters, but will grow like crazy in your pond! I’m interested to hear from others! Mike

  10. Lynn(Tampa) Says:

    on May 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I have had a scarecrow for a couple of years. Just had all my fish cleaned out.
    The Heron moves so slowly, the scarecrow often does not detect it.
    They also can maneuver around fishing line…one got caught in it and destroyed it.
    Unfortunately, I missed that episode.
    I am going to try an owl and fake heron as well…also have a floating alligator head.
    Keep your fingers crossed!

  11. Mgannon Says:

    on June 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Hey Lynn, sorry to hear that about your fish. I hope some of these tips will keep any future issues away. Thanks for reading the blog. Mike

  12. Pat and G---M Says:

    on August 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I have a fabulous 60ft x 40ft natural pond at the bottom of my garden that was over grown with smelly algae and duckweed it has taken us over 19 years to fill it with all sorts of pond plants, pond weed, marginal plants, water iris, water forget me not’s, water lilies etc, etc , etc! we also installed a huge (costly) floating fountain and were pleased to see that some of the goldfish had survived our Canadian winter freeze this spring we were overjoyed to see that the goldfish had been breeding all winter! and we had huge schools of fish numbering in the hundreds with perhaps thousands of babies! We had GBH problems– then suddenly we noticed the iris were dissapearing from the pond edges, then the Arrow heads so I kept a watch everyday to see what was going on and discovered that a pair of Muskrats had moved in How cute I thought until we saw that they had a family of five babies they have now destroyed our pond completely all the wonderful plant life we had established in and around the pond and the banks of the pond have all been eaten and the edges of the pond itself is now bare mud –And now to my dismay for the past week a GBH has been flying in and has eaten almost all my goldfish- there are just a handful left having no weeds or plants to hide under—I truly believe that the shrubs and plants all around the edges and in the pond has been a great deterrent so as soon as we have re-homed the muskrats (by live trapping) to the local canal which enters into a huge natural pond up the road we will be starting all over again re planting around the pond and in it! And hopefully the GBH will leave us a few goldfish so that we can start all over again.

  13. Mgannon Says:

    on August 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Hey thanks for the comment and checking out the blog. I’d sorry to hear about the muskrats and heron, but very happy to know that you are keeping the pond going with new plants and fish! good luck, and try to send a photo! Mike

  14. Glan Says:

    on October 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    If I have a 20metre diameter pond 600-700mm deep would a 1m high vertical chicken wire fence built right on the edge of the near vertical sides stop the heron or will it still fly over and land in the water. To try and stretch netting across the pond will I am sure sink with the weight of a heron or snow.

    We just lost a load of beautiful fish but still have some left.

    I really must find a solution

  15. Mgannon Says:

    on October 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Hi and thanks for commenting! Herons are really wading birds that typically will not “land” in a pond. If you have shallow areas that the heron can jump the fence and access, it probably will. If you pond is steep sides and deep then the heron will probably not be successful hunting your pond when you put up the fence. Deterring herons typically occurs with a mixture of approaches, so do the fence, and other deterrents if possible.

  16. Danielle Says:

    on November 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Hello all,

    I am a Koi owner as well as an intern at a Bird Repellent company Rejex-it. So, best of both worlds :) I have lost a few Koi to a single pesky Koi, and have purchased expensive decoys, sprinklers, and spent a lot of money with no promising results. Since I started working for Rejex-it, I used the product my company sells called Rejex-it Fog Force. It is an aerosol bird repellent that can be used in any time release fragrance dispensers. Just like the ones that you put AirWick household fragrances in. It is non-lethal, and is made with the same food-grade ingredients that are in common foods and beverages we consume everyday. And it smells like grapes! Its super easy, cost-effective, and it has worked for me. So I recommend it. Here is a link to the website:

    http://rejexit.com/bird_repellent_goose_repellent_bird_control_bird_solutions.php

    Hope it helps you too!

  17. Mgannon Says:

    on November 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Hey thanks for the link! I hope it helps some people out!

  18. Barbara Says:

    on May 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I have a pond 10ftx6ft with about 100 small fish in it I was away for 1day and night.
    Came home to everyone of my fish gone, they have been in this pond for 8 years
    Can I blame this on a heron ,or is there something more sinister in this loss of so many fish.

  19. Mgannon Says:

    on May 14, 2013 at 2:42 am

    Hello Barbara, It sounds like the work of a heron to me. YES! they can eat that much. Mike

  20. Sandy Says:

    on May 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I am anti-gun but if I had a semi automatic I would shoot the heck out of that damn bird! !! he/she is so bold – just looks at us until we yell. he’s as tall as me and UGLY!!! who ever said they are beautiful is nuts.
    Do you suppose their is a weight limit to the fish they will eat? I had 30 fish (the deep section is 40″) 27 cent goldfish who until recently were about 7 inches long. All gone, the cutest little shubunkins all gone. However the big Koi, thank heavens, survived. Now I have 7 large fish left.
    I hate that BIRD

  21. Mgannon Says:

    on May 29, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Hey Sandy I think there may be a few others who share your sentiment!

  22. Sharon Says:

    on June 8, 2013 at 5:36 am

    I had a 2′ by 4′ pond that I built for 2 goldfish my granddaughter won at the fair 11yrs ago, we then placed 2 baby koi & a mirror carp in there, their so tame that they hand feed & come up to be stroked, last year I decided to re-do the garden using as little money as poss to show my grandchildren that it could be done! I relocated the pond & it’s now 7′ x 6′ I even made a huge castle with drawbridge out of scrap wood that goes along the whole side if the pond & hiss the home made Waterbutt filter, the fish were loving it, I lovingly picked out 6 koi for grandsons & 6 butterfly koi for my granddaughters, 10 days ago I got home to find 3 fish missing, 5 speared & savaged, my poor koi has a hole in hes side, but is still with us, my devestated granddaughter lost her original goldfish! over the last 10 days I’ve sat vigil from 4am til 10pm, the pond assassin calls any hour of the day… I’ve done everything from plants to eventually netting my pond, to my horror yesterday I let my dogs out & the heron was between the pond & castle when my dogs went up there barking furiously I called them back so it would have an escape route & it struck my dog in the shoulder causing a puncture wound!!!, I’ve now decided to net my whole garden using washing line to make a marquee of netting, I can’t think of any other way to protect us from this MONSTER!!!

  23. Sharon Says:

    on June 8, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I should of explained better, sorry sleep deprivation is getting to me!!!! I’m going to use my washing line as the middle support to completely cover my garden in netting, drastic but at least we’ll all be safe!!

  24. Mgannon Says:

    on June 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Hello Sharon, sorry to hear this story of the heron. Netting is the most effective, and drastic, approach but sometimes it is a necessity. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

  25. Gary Smith Says:

    on June 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Mike we have a pond in our back yard that is about 1/4 acre and have never really tried to keep fish in it, but we do have quite a lot of bullfrogs which I treasure as much as I would fish. Over the last 15 or so years we have always had an issue with the Herons, both green and blue cleaning out our frog population, (aprox 500 to 1000) with in two or three days. We had a pair of wood ducks visit the pond about 5 years ago and they apparently brought a little bit of duck weed with them. Within a couple of weeks almost the entire pond was covered with duckweed. We have river rocks around the outside of the pond and it makes it difficult for the Heron to walk on so they walk in the water. As long as we had the duck weed we had plenty of frogs and the Heron stayed away. The trick was when he moved in the water, even as slow as they move the duck weed worked like a big screen net that moved when he moved making his presence known to the frogs. We have since removed the duck weed and have stocked the pond with fish just a couple of weeks ago. The Heron has already cleaned out the first bloom of frogs but there are thousand of tad poles with legs soon to be frogs. I am going to try putting netting in the water just around the edge of the pond to see if it will work like the duck weed did. I will keep you updated as to how it works. Gary

  26. Mgannon Says:

    on June 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Hey Gary great feedback!! Many thanks for sharing that information. Hope to hear from you again. Mike

  27. Germanator Says:

    on July 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    To share something I’m trying (its working so far) I bought an Inflatable Dancing Air Guy, a single bulb motion/security/night lite and an extention cord. I devised a small mounting platform for the lite, and put it near one corner of my pond, pointed at an aprox 45 degree angle tward the water. Then duct taped off the daytime/nighttime sensor so that inaway the motion sensor was allways on. Then insted of scrweing in a lite bulb I screwed in a Plun-in. Then pluged in the extention cord the Dancing Air Guy and an old radio. The Heron is a rather large bird and set off the motion sensor wich inflated Dancing Guy (an 18 footer by the way) and radio. If this do not work. “Wir haben zu tun dies dass Deutsch weg” (:

  28. Tony Says:

    on July 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I have heard rumors of the heron bills puncturing the pond liners. Have you seen this occur? I have a very good liner but…

  29. Mgannon Says:

    on July 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Hello Tony. I have heard those rumors but in 20 years of dealing ponds I have never actually encountered this issue. Although I could see how with cheap liners a heron could potentially do damage. I don’t think with a standard 45mil EPDM pond liner that they would really cause much issue, or at least it would be very rare! Thanks for checking out the blog.

  30. Mgannon Says:

    on July 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

    If THAT does not work, then you have one very brave heron on hand!! Good luck!

  31. Bob Bowen Says:

    on July 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Mint and trimmer cord. Pond is about 10′ x 15′ with stone wall in background and coming out the two sides. Installed trimmer cord at 13-15″ high, 24″ high and 32″ high. Also have mint growing from wall to wall. The GBH has been back a few times but can’t get into the pond. I think we finally found a solution to our problem. Last year the bird drove us crazy trying to keep him away.
    Also, get a truck sized oil changing pan, cut 6″ holes in the sides, place upside-down with rocks on top. A great, economical haven for the koi. They like to go into it during the winter months too.

  32. John Says:

    on August 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Since most of the deterrents don’t seem to work (or only work for a short period of time), i’m trying to think of a new way to repell the Heron.
    I’ve seen a lot of devices that promote the use of UltraSonic sound frequency, but since the birds hearing is similar to that of humans (200hz – 20000Khz), these devices are nothing more than a waste of time.
    Shockwire might be effective, but is child-unfriendly. Also, i’ve seen a Heron actually “probe” the wire-system, looking for it’s weak spot… and finding it!

    Since i have a pond that is elevated from the ground (about 3 feet) and is square, i’m thinking of a way to “prevent” the Heron from succesfully landing on the edge, for longer than 3 seconds.
    It consists of a “rail”-system that follows the entire edge.
    Connected to it, is a sensor that detects the Heron, sends a signal to the “rail” that activates a rod/bar that moves from one side, to the other.
    By doing this, it “hits” the feet of the Heron (not hard enough to break them, but hard enough to scare it), so it has no other option than abandoning it’s position.
    If it gets hit enough times, it should persuade the bird to look for another pond to raid.
    Offcourse i considered fishwire or netting, but that creates a situation in which the bird could get entangled, endangering it’s survival.
    So far, it’s only one of my ideas.
    I’m working on more, but it requires an intensive study of the Heron, in an urban environment.
    If i come up with something else, i’ll let you know.

    Regards,

    John

  33. Mgannon Says:

    on August 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Hey John, it sounds like you are coming up with some good ideas. I think the trick to heron/general predator is to use an assortment of methods. I don’t think there is any one solution for all ponds and sometimes customized methods, like yours, need to be considered. I like what you saying though, especially in that you are not looking to hurt or kill the bird. I have and will joke about wanting to kill the herons that stalk my pond but I never actually would and really do not condone it. A multilevel approach to predator control is the best bet! Thanks for reading and commenting in the LOVEYOURPOND blog! -Mike

  34. Lisa Says:

    on September 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Hi there,
    My parents are having a nightmare at with the Heron that keeps on coming. They recently had their pond thoroughly cleaned out and new low stone wall built. They covered the pond again with netting and is pulled really tight. The Heron comes early so anything from 5.30. One morning my dad saw it by the side of the pool and grab and fish and fly off before he would get down the stairs. They have now put catgut round the edge of the pond as everyone says they are wading birds, WELL, we thought it strange this week as no fish are coming up for their food apart from the small baby fish that are black. My dad looked out the window the other morning to see the Heron standing in the middle of the pond on the netting!! My mum ran out to scare it off, but this is why we are not seeing the fish, they are either scared or the damn Heron has had the fish!!! Can anyone suggest anything please as I have been reading past posts, but nothing seems to work does it? I did think about an electric fencing that we use for the horses, but if the Heron is landing on the net in middle of the pond then that is no good. The pond is 4 foot deep so do you think worth taking the net off, but put something round the edges obviously – any suggestions for that as well please. We are getting very upset now as we only just got some new fish and we are hoping they are still there.
    Many thanks.
    Lisa.

  35. Mgannon Says:

    on September 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Hello Lisa, have you tried the method of using an outdoor radio tuned to a talk station to keep the heron away? This trick can work very nicely. The heron will not take the chance of coming into an area where the human voice is being heard. I think that is worth a try since you already know that netting a pond is not always the solution!
    Mike

  36. Bert Says:

    on October 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I fully sympathise with all the posts on this site . I have problems with the local Grey Heron. I think a net ‘not’ pulled tight would be affective as it dips into water into the middle, by God it’s unsightly. I tried one of those ultra sound devices, however it drove the dog mad and he tore it of it’s the first day I emplaced on it’s post, poor bugger. I erected an 18 inch high fence at the edge of the pond thinking that the heron disinclined to oink it’s legs over and into the pond, a prospect of which those of us of the masculine persuasion can attest to, I think that was effective the year I tried it, on the birds that is . Nobodies mentioned a Japanese bird scarer, I suspect that would be affective if I could stop it from filling up with gunk and stop. I have thought about placing the dog house complete with dog by the pond , a future prospect. At the moment I have three pussycats patrolling the area day and night, as well as keeping the local squirrels from attacking my cob nuts, with cats you must keep the water level not less than 6 inches below the level where they might sit, otherwise scare them off with a water hose regularly so that they get the idea. A decoy heron might be an idea however you must move it day to day, I think it unlikely a heron would risk life and limb to fight a decoy however it think it might be lifeless and even though herons are highly territorial, I have never heard of two Heron fighting or even displaying each other off, that might be worth some further research, Bill Oddy where are you.
    Bert

  37. Diane Says:

    on October 5, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I have a raised 8′ x 10′ pond, 30″ deep in deep end with caves. The last few days we have been visited by a GBH. I can tell you that a large, colorful dragon kite hung above the pond doesn’t work; apparently herons aren’t afraid of dragons! Will be trying netting next; fortunately he hasn’t gotten any fish yet. I’m hoping he gets discouraged as we are 4 blocks from a marine reserve in Moss Beach, CA which has LOTS of fish for him!

  38. Mgannon Says:

    on October 8, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Thanks for getting in touch. I think a multi level approach to heron control is necessary. It is amazing how they will hunt our ponds with thriving natural fisheries close by. I think they go for the easy pickings! Let me know how you fare! -Mike

  39. JillB Says:

    on December 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Hi, Just encountered your blog. we have a pond that is 20″ deep, about 4′ x 8′ with a water fall on one side and edged with plants including some water willows and mint The pond is lined with slate plates. We have about 50 koi and gold fish of various sizes, but none over about 5 inches. We’ve had several GBH visitations and so far have not lost any fish. I think they mostly go behind the slate plates. The heron was in the pond yesterday and we are going to be away for awhile, so I put the radio out. Should it be left on all night?

    Thanks, Jill

  40. Corncob Says:

    on December 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Have hah this pond for fifteen years. Had GBH for eight hours. Does not scare,have yelled and chased,just walks away. Put out a heron statue. He sits next to it and asks for a date.Will put out netting. Wife says he’s male,only thing that would be this stubborn. Ha,I disagree.

  41. Mgannon Says:

    on December 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Jill,
    Thanks for checking out the blog! You can leave the radio running as long as it doesn’t bother neighbors and such. I run my radio 24/7! -Mike

  42. Kevin Says:

    on February 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I have a 20 ft. mainly round pond and have lost many batches of Koi to Blue Heron, over $2,000. worth. . I noticed in the PA region, they come to residential ponds in the winter, I suspect that because the stream minnows go into hibernation, and there are many local streams in area that they can feed off in the warmer months. …… I found an excellent solution!!! I’ve tried owl, crow and heron decoys, (lets face it, do you really think moving them around helps?). Also tried a screech owl sound motion detector, it failed, fishing line every 12″, then fishing line every 6″, placing 2 ft. of deer netting over ledges. The fishing line has worked excellent for 3-4 years but he has recently found a way to get into unprotected corners, (if you see shiny fish scales in your pond, he has eaten). I’ve considered the hose squirting motion detector, but the garden hose will freeze in winter. I’ve developed a system that runs off a switched 120v supply. It has a submersible pump and an 85db audible alarm hooked to a motion detector. The squirt nozzles are on the pump and directionally customized to pond area. It works for my pond because it is spring fed and doesn’t freeze. I have kept my main fishing line up, but have been able to remove the ugly makeshift netting, wood and lawn chairs (serious) protection that I put up as an emergency around the edges where he has been creeping in. Feel free to contact me for any more info. Just another note, keeping 50 or so feeder goldfish in pond helps, just in case heron does get in, they are easier pickings for him. Some may say it attracts the Heron, but the Heron knows the Koi are in there, irregardlessly . …. Kevin

  43. Mike Gannon Says:

    on February 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for that feedback! I agree that pond owners need to use several methods of predator protection. There is no “one thing” that will deter predators. It is a multi-level defense system a pond owner needs. I think if any method works once or twice they are worth it, and it means they may work again; or maybe not. The biggest challenge is having a defense system that is not UGLY. I feel like I have had a nice degree of success using an outdoor radio tuned to a talk station playing by my pond. I think that the sound of the human voice is a good deterrent, but there will always be a real hungry or bold predator that might take that chance too; but if it works even once… then good.
    Mike

  44. Nicholas Says:

    on March 23, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I saw the comment/question about herons puncturing the pond liner – and yes, they can and do. I foolishly used a cheap piece of liner for a small pond in a series I have built, and a heron has stabbed through it multiple times. Also once or twice though tough butyl liners in the larger ponds. Still looking for adequate deterrence!

  45. Mike Gannon Says:

    on March 24, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Hey Nicholas thanks for the feedback. Of course there are always exceptions, and many varying quality of pond liners, but in general pond owners do not have to really worry about a heron puncturing their liner. It would be a rare and unusual occurrence but I agree that it certainly is possible, and has happened, as you experienced. Thank you for the feedback, and important information you shared!!

  46. Cara Says:

    on April 7, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I have been chasing off this giant gray blue crane like bird which know I believe is this Heron you’ve been speaking of. I have dogs that patrol during the day, but the bird goes up on the roof and just watches them. I read someone say a bird attacked one of their dogs. Should I worry??
    Im wondering if these birds hunt at night? And it didnt seem to be terribly afraid of me. I could only get it to fly away after I threw a small rock in his direction… Im sure he will be back. Ughhhh After watching some videos, seems netting is useless if they walk on it?

  47. Mike Gannon Says:

    on April 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Hey Cara, the herons can be a real pain and there really is not anything that is 100% heron proof even netting like you have seen. A good trick I like to use is having a talk radio station paying by my pond so while I am not home the heron will still hear human voices right by the pond and not be as likely to prey upon my fish. I think it works great, try that! I have a radio show you can listen to that we have an episode dedicated to pond predators… here is the link if you want to listen! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wm-aquaculture/2014/04/10/pond-hunter-episode-3-pond-predators

  48. Chanda Says:

    on May 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Hello,

    Has anyone had success with a fountain or moving water feature to detour GBH? I live in Colorado and my goldfish are under attack! I don’t want to list the beauty of my small pond with a net. Do animal statues work? I also do not want to surround my pond with crazy looking ‘scarecrows’

    Thanks

  49. Ron Says:

    on May 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you for the tips and I enjoyed your humor.

  50. Mike Gannon Says:

    on May 20, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Hi, thanks for commenting. Heron deterrents have to be a multi-level approach. Many things work, but one of the best is a radio tuned to a talk radio station left running. The heron is not bold enough to come around human activity, so when it hears the human voice it is likely to stay away.

  51. Christine Says:

    on May 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Hello

    I have a heart shaped koi pond with 65 koi, I have the best luck stringing a heavy fish line across pond approximately 4 foot high over pond with shiney cd’s hanging down from it. The breeze makes them twirl and flash. One morning at 5:30 am a heron was standing I am sure ready to attack but I spread open the curtains and as he went to fly hit the fish string hard got startled and has never been back. I built my own pond when I was diagnosed with cancer 8 yeArs ago. I also have staked wind chimes around it and have no issues…the pond is 6 foot deep in the middle and 17×20 so is not small all hand dug with a 3 tier waterfall. We also have a fake heron on a rebar stake that moves freely to look real. My son also bought me an alligator head that floats. I hope this helps, it has me in Oregon.

    Blessings to all

  52. Kim Says:

    on May 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Hello, We HAD 17 Comets and Shubunkins in the pond when we bought our home… they were quite large. We went away for a weekend last summer and came back and they were all GONE… We figure a Heron got them as one was seen flying around the golf course. Also my husband and I were new to pond care… and we did not have any plants and coverage for the poor fish… just sparkly clean water as opposed to the dark water when we bought the house!… :( Although our pond does have a tree and foliage around it and is kind of hidden.. there was nothing like a net or anything to foil the Heron. So I have educated myself on all kinds of pond/ fish care before I attempt to put any more fish in the pond this summer. What I want to know is: 1) Is there any kind of artificial floating Koi out there? I had read someone used one as a decoy so a Heron would grab it and it would allow the real fish time to hide. Also. I will probably start off again with comets in the upper pond which is deeper (about 4 ft deep) once my lillies and other pond foliage gets grown. 2) I am going to put a “cave” in the pond so the poor things have a place to hide. Thinking of using a couple cement blocks with a grate or some kind of top… then will set rocks and lilies on top of that to help hide the cave. Will that work? Or should I just use a large PVC pipe and surround it with rocks and call it a day. I know fake koi probably sound amusing… but I think with enough foliage and other things (like real fish swimming around) perhaps the larger colorful floating fish would momentarily fool a Heron (or raccoon) Perhaps this is a “bird-brained” idea… lol… but trying to figure a way to protect fish without adding nets, scarecrows etc… BTW…My water feature is pretty large… it runs downhill along one side of the house… a 40 ft stream… waterfall into an upper pond (12×16) then an 18 ft cascading waterfall to lower pond which is also 12×16. So covering with nets is not practical…. Finally last question… once we get pond all ready to go (we just power washed and cleaned out leaves/debris) 3) Do we leave the pond running constantly?? Are features this big meant to stay on?? We are in Ohio. (Yes we have the anti freeze heater rings to put in pond.) Thanks for your help! :)

  53. Mike Gannon Says:

    on June 13, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Hi Kim, thanks for getting in touch! Sorry to hear the heron treated your pond like a sushi bar! There are floating fake koi, however I have not been able to find them for over a year now, they would work well if you can find them! The cave should work well and the fish will definitely use it. Most pond that do not have exterior filter systems should be able to run year round, using the de-icer is a good idea as well. If you wnat ot hear a great discussion on predator control you should listen to this! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wm-aquaculture/2014/04/10/pond-hunter-episode-3-pond-predators

  54. caroline cameron Says:

    on September 15, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Hi, I have a 1200 gallon fish pond here in Ontario, Canada and have had 2 koi, 2 shubunkins and 2 fancy goldfish in it for over 5 years, working hard to have cat tails and iris growing and some bamboo, all for good cover. I added a wooden lean-to at the back section on the top last year. I had more fish a couple of years ago, but sold some to keep the rest healthy and avoid any crowding. One blue Heron has flown over up really high, but just squawked when he saw me and kept going. This past week, I knew 2 fish were missing, then 2 more the next night. My favourite was a really large orange female koi with black markings on her, a real beauty. She disappeared 2 nights ago along with a little guy. I checked all of my netting and found a very small hole bitten and torn and orange scales around the hole I knew were from my big girl. A MINK! I am heartbroken that he cleaned out my fish pond! I set a live trap with bread, he took it and the trap went off but he got away somehow. Last night, I don’t think he came to my pond because the tuna bait was untouched and the trap still set. It really bothers me to think he will only come to my pond if there are live fish moving around. I need some ideas to rebuild the pond edges. I’m thinking of concrete blocks 2 high in a rectangle shape and chicken wire buried in the ground behind these blocks, then make covers with 2 x4s and chicken wire to lay across the water on the top of the blocks.. Can anyone help please? I need to be done before the cold weather hits my area. I thought I’d try some feeder goldfish until spring, then add new koi. Thank you.

  55. Pete Says:

    on September 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    We have a big pond, about 10m in diameter and about 1m or so deep, we have lots of plain carp as well as Koi and shubinkins, everything we have tried to keep the heron away has failed. We currently have a metal fence around the edge which is about 1 1/2 ft high and attached to that we have a net which covers the pond apart from a couple of very small gaps at the edge but the heron keeps coming back and landing on the netting, what can I do to stop him? I think our fish must be extra tasty or something. We have had a scarecrow, fake herons/birds and other animals but he is like some kind of super heron and just wont give in.

    HELP….

  56. Mike Gannon Says:

    on September 23, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Hello Caroline, I’m very sorry to hear that you fish are being taken by mink. They are very difficult to deal with. Rebuilding or fortifying your pond may not do the trick. I recommend some type of ultra-sonic pest deterrent for your pond and a VERY tight netting firmly secured to the ground with no gaps. Mink can be devastating to a pond.
    Here is a link to my podcast about pond predators. We talk about some strategies to deal with mink on the show, take a listen for some great advice on dealing with all type of predators.
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wm-aquaculture/2014/04/10/pond-hunter-episode-3-pond-predators
    Good luck, and thank you for reading and commenting on the blog!
    Mike

  57. Mike Gannon Says:

    on September 23, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Hello Pete,
    Ha! super tasty fish could be an issue! Have you tried the talk radio trick yet? it works very well. Here is a link to my radio podcast on pond predators, take a listen and thanks for reading and commenting on the blog!!
    Mike
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wm-aquaculture/2014/04/10/pond-hunter-episode-3-pond-predators

  58. Lita Says:

    on September 24, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Hello. After a heron robbed us in November 2012, we installed a Contech scarecrow, and had no problems until the past couple of weeks. We have the hose to the scarecrow buried, so it isn’t practical to move it to another side of the pond. I am intrigued by the idea of the motion activated predator call broadcaster that you mentioned, but unable to find one online. I also like your suggestion of the talk radio, which seems should be easy enough to give a try. May I ask what type of radio you use? I’m assuming it must be weather/ waterproof. Also is it battery operated? We lost an 11.5 inch koi last week, and today I was just going out the door to visit the pond when a heron flew off. It had clearly been in the pond, as it left huge wet prints on the pavement . All of our remaining koi are accounted for, so if it got anything, it was goldfish. Lucky that time, but I am worried, to put it mildly. I was really hoping to surprise my husband with a new koi or two for his birthday, but until I can feel confident about the heron situation that’s out.

  59. Mike Gannon Says:

    on September 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Hello Lita, the talk radio is very effective; but I always tell people that predator control is a multi-level approach and nothing is 100%. I use a cheap outdoor radio I got at a Home Depot, but I am sure somehwere like radio shack or a sporting goods store will have outdoor / weather proof radios that can be used. Thanks for reading and commenting! -Mike

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