BATTLE OF THE GREAT BLUE HERON

blue heron nj

At 6:30 this morning eastern time, I was splashing a bit of 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee, looking out my kitchen window at my pond as I do every morning, I must have been looking at it for a good10-15 seconds before I noticed that right before my eyes, standing on one of my big stones, looking into my pond was a Great Blue Heron. The heron blended so well into the scenery and was so still that my eyes did not catch it. This year my pond has been stalked a bit more heavily by the herons than previous years, and typically for my area the heron and the frantic heron phone calls from my customers stop around mid-May, but this year they are stalking the ponds it seems much longer. This heron is not the one that seems to always show up at my pond, and my brother in law’s pond (2 houses away), although still very much looking like a frikkin pterodactyl, it was smaller.

I went into stealth mode, stole downstairs into the sunroom, which overlooks the pond too, and burst out the backdoor thinking, maybe, just maybe, this time I’d get the monster and wrestle him down pondside. But even with all my bursting out of the door, my hand had barely left the door handle and that bird was 30 feet away from me and 8 foot off the ground, flying off in between the trees that the other birds always flies off between too; only to perch and watch me from 100 yards away, KNOWING that I have to head off to work soon and KNOWING that it will be back to hunt my pond again. This morning the heron did get 3 of my fish, none of my big guys, but 3 of our 5 baby koi that my wife and I have been enjoying so much this year, and count about every 8 hours. Man, will she be upset. the only thing I could do at this time was to put some of our outdoor chairs around the pond, so I did, but it is now time to take some more drastic steps and consider adding some deer fencing in the area of my pond.

The Great Blue Heron, if I didn’t hate it so much, is an amazing and beautiful bird, the kind of bird I could sit and watch and truly admire for it beauty, stature, and its predatorship. the Blue Heron will prey not only on my personal koi stock, No, it will eat frogs, chipmunks, snakes, baby groundhogs, baby ducks, and then some; it will attack decoy herons, and stand there getting blasted by the “scarecrow”, it will figure out how to get through fishing lines, it has patience and intelligence, if cornered it will be very aggressive towards humans as well, and who needs a 4 foot tall bird pecking at their eyes. This is a true foe with a great memory for ponds to stalk. so my fellow pond owners, take this bird seriously, protect your pond when it shows up, get a dog! and remember this bird has all day to watch your pond and you don’t, so beware, keep your eyes peeled it could very well be right in front of you, and let the bird know it is NOT welcome and NOT an interesting visitor to the pond, and post when you have a heron visit, the more we know of this bird the more we can fight to win the Battle of The Great Blue Heron.

16 Comments

susan wahlberg

I too have been cursed by the dinosaurus of birds.I have video cameras and jumped on my golfcart,hit the up button on my attached garage to find him standing in the bogg areas with the cattails.I screamed at him as he flew away.Well,he won.I have narry a fish and he has spear chucked holes in my liner.I am about to repair and seal my liner,again.I do recall that I was never bothered by them when I has a fountain in the middle of my pond and will do that this spring.Oh yea,I forgot to mention that I live next door to a nature park with a lake and migratory marsh loaded with heron and down the street from a very large lake.My new song I wrote is “Ninty-nine koi fish in the pond, ninty-nine Koi fish.The heron swooped down,down to the ground,Ninty-eight Koi fish in the pond”…

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Mgannon

Hi Susan, your location gives you some really unique challenges with the herons! I had never thought of running them down with golf carts before, but will suggest this to others now!! 😉 I hope your song never becomes too popular, but I can certainly appreciate it! Thanks for reading the blog. Mike

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Janie Lichtfuss

We have a senior community right next to a pond and a golf course. We have had a blue heron in the pond regularly but now it has become very bold and has come up on the decks of a couple of homes, even pecking on the window of one. Is there anything that will deter them from coming so close?

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Kurk Clarke

If I could get some advice on how to battle a GBH, it would be greatly appreciated. I have a pond, spring fed, 100′ x 80′, in North Florida. The pond has several hundred comet goldfish, turtles, tadpoles, bullfrogs, etc. A very large GBH has a beautiful buffet to it’s self. The bird is on-site several times during daylight hours. I’ve been using netting in some areas, fishing line in a grid pattern, also, the fish have two very large (10′ in diameter) covered floating circles to hid under, . The GBH decoy is a joke, the bird will stand next to the decoy on a decorative dock. It seems the heron comes and goes and does whatever it wants until it hears or sees something it doesn’t like, then it’s up and away. The “pondcats” are curious but aren’t a deterrent, the only thing that may be helping is the coverage of the duckweed. Any advice is welcomed, thanks.

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Claire

Yesterday morning I heard an odd noise in my garden looked out and saw a gbh flying off with one of my large koi, to a roof top to devour my fish, I am most upset, I have decoys around my pond now thinking I am going to need something more we added another decoy this time a decoy heron, but thinking we will need to build a net frame
This morning I’m on alert and gbh watch so is one of my cats, it was the first time I had seen one in my garden, so I’m sure he will be back. Not sure how often they come back, he had a mate on another roof top.

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Ashley

I went fishing today at the lake near my house. An hour later when I went to get my line out of the water a blue heron came running up to me and stopped about 5ft away. Later I gave it one of my catches and it stayed with me for 5 hours while I fished. After feeding it another fish before I left, I got home and just put my fishing gear down when I turn around and it was standing in front of my family’s garage. It flew away a few minutes later but came back a hour later. I tried to see if anyone else has had this bird follow them around but nothing showed up when I searched it. This is the third time I’ve seen it but it doesn’t look like it did the first two times. And people keep saying that this bird is aggressive but I’m wondering why it wasn’t scared or aggressive towards me or my family. Does anyone know why this particular blue heron would do something like this? And do you think it would have remembered me from the other two times, because it quite literally ran up to me and stopped a few feet in front of me. Not attacking me nor flying away.

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Bill Kaim

While my wife was gone for a business trip I built a 16 by 20 pond after 3 years I finally got everything under control even the LG and my fish are starting to reproduce which is a good thing unfortunately my first year I killed all my fish bite taking all the oxygen out of the water trying to kill the algae spend close to round $200 in Plants every year because we live outside the Greater Cleveland area in the suburbs so our plans don’t survive the winter we love our pond it’s where we go to decompress after work are fish come up when they see us when we go in the pond to clean it it come and swim up to us when the grandkids come over they love feeding All the Little Nemo’s that are out there unfortunately we had an unwanted visitor the other day and we lost several of our fish to the blue heron my way my wife was so devastated is she was crying and apologizing to the fish as stupid as that sounds you do get attached to them even though they are fish so we close the pain down early for the winter and put our black screening over the entire pond well a couple of days later there was the gbh Standing On Top of the cover unsuccessfully poking through but still trying I’m hoping that after shoveling more days and attempts this gbh will decide to leave just needed to express my loss thank you for your website

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KoiMan

I have used deer netting to cover the entire pond each year when food is not in abundance for the GBH and never lost any Koi. ~10yrs. I did not net this Fall/winter and one showed up which we chased off and I’m sure he got the point! That aside these are wading birds and when they land they walk to the pond edge etc. they don’t want their feathers submerged and if they cannot walk into the pond or creep over a rock to peer in, they keep moving on. Make your pond deep on one end and provide something the fish can hide under. Also, make the pond somewhat steep at the edges or at least obtrusive so the bird can’t just step into the pond without fish becoming alarmed. They (GBH) get so still the fish relax and the bird chows down.

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Mike Gannon

Hey Koiman, thanks for commenting and sharing some great tips on keeping our ponds safe from the Great Blue Heron! -Mike

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