By: Mike Gannon | Posted On: November 15th, 2009 | 6 Comments on BATTLE OF THE GREAT BLUE HERON | In: KOI PONDS, POND PREDATORS, WATER GARDENS

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.

Written by Mike Gannon

Mike Gannon

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The LOVEYOURPOND Blog is written by Mike Gannon of Full Service Aquatics located in Summit, NJ. Mike is an award winning pond, water garden, and water feature builder. Always “In The Pursuit Of All Things Aquatic” Mike has been a lifelong hobbyist and providing professional services since 1995. Mike is the creator of The Pond Hunter video series seen on Youtube and has made several television appearances on Networks such as HGTV and the DIY Network. He also hosts the Pond Hunter Radio Broadcast, a show on everything aquatic, every other Wednesday at 8pm EST. You can see what else Mike is up to at the following sites:


    Comments Feed
  1. susan wahlberg Says:

    on April 17, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    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”…

  2. Mgannon Says:

    on April 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    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

  3. Janie Lichtfuss Says:

    on July 31, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    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?

  4. Mike Gannon Says:

    on August 3, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Hello Jane. Sorry to hear the herons have become so bold! Listen to this podcast, it gives many suggestions on dealing with herons that you may find useful. Thanks for the feedback! here is a link to the podcast–great-blue-herons-and-your-pond

  5. Kurk Clarke Says:

    on January 21, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    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.

  6. Mike Gannon Says:

    on January 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Hey Kurk, I understand your struggles with the GBH. I do have more articles here in the blog regarding herons. I also have my podcast THE POND HUNTER RADIO BROADCAST which has an entire episode dedicated to the great Blue Heron. Here is the link:–great-blue-herons-and-your-pond
    Good luck, Mike

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