Help Heron attacked pond

tilly99

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We found a large goldfish on our patio a few days ago. We realised it was still breathing,and put it back in the pond.It didnt survive. We had 12 fish in total and now have only a 2 large Koi,and a large goldfish left. We think these were too large for the Heron. Since the attack,the remaining fish have burrowed motionless on the bottom of the pond,under some weed cover.We dont know what to do,are they likely to be injured,and is that why they are there,or are they traumatised? Im very concerned for these fish.Has this happened to anyone? What can we do? Any ideas or advice is greatly appreciated.We didnt see the Heron,but cant think what else it would be,and we do live near a river where you can spot the odd Heron or two.
Thanks for your help!
 

Jaysee

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I;ve watched my neighbors koi get eaten up from my bedroom window. He got a motion detecting water spray that worked for a while. But, he ended up putting a net over it.
 

Tana

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Once the herons find easy pickings, they will keep coming until every last one of your fish are gone. Just last month I looked out my kitchen window to see one standing in my pond and sadly a net is really the only thing that will deter them. I hate having a net on my pond, but I love my fish more and want to keep them safe.

The fish will be traumatized for a while, but they will come out of the deep end eventually. If you can provide them with a shelter, such as a koi castle or even a homemade shelter while they're in the pond, that helps too.

I recently drained my pond to clean it and while it was empty we made a "bat cave" for the fish to hide in until the pond gets some plant coverage. It's just a big piece of flagstone laying on top of river rock to make a cave structure. How my 39 comets manage to all fit in it is beyond me, but they do.
 

jetajockey

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My family doctor's wife turned their in ground pool into a pond and they had major seagull/heron/pelican issues. Having waterfront property obviously didn't take them long to find it. Their final solution was netting as well.
 

ldbrown3138

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Herons are loners. Get a fake heron and place it by your pond, it will spook them. You may have to move it occasionally from one side to the other. More floating plants would help as well. I don't know if the silver spinning whirl-a-gigs will frighten herons but that mat be worth a try. They spook easily.

Around here we call them swamp chickens.
 

Tana

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They are loners for the most part, until mating season. Seriously I have had people tell me they try to woo their decoy, as does the article I found below.
 
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tilly99

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Thank you for your replies and the link. We will build a cave,and hope that makes them better. I guess a net is the thing,although ive just noticed some pond rings that go around the inside of the pond.Anyone used or even heard of those?
 

ldbrown3138

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How about a shark? The heron goes for a bite and instead winds up as lunch!

But seriously, I read something about putting fishing line around the pond perimeter. Herons walk in the water, if you can make walking difficult they will leave. If you can make the heron feel uncomfortable they will leave. Do you have a dog? Cat? Maybe a Tiger? Ha
 

platy ben

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Herons are loners. Get a fake heron and place it by your pond, it will spook them. You may have to move it occasionally from one side to the other. More floating plants would help as well. I don't know if the silver spinning whirl-a-gigs will frighten herons but that mat be worth a try. They spook easily.
I disagree with this.
Decoy herons lure other herons, thats where the decoy heron came from, the french used to, might still do, use the decoys to lure real herons to shoot, so don't get a decoy.

My way of stopping herons, a fence around the pond.
Herons like to be able to step into the water and will rarely land directly in it, I have a high fence around mine which a heron can't step over, therefore, no herons

My dad had a heron and he put up a fence around his pond and it worked, and then he also bought one of those swirly bird scarers that farmers use and now he doesn't ever see the heron.

I've attached a pic of my pond so you can see the fence.
 

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sirdarksol

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Ways of dealing with herons:
A fence around the pond (herons prefer wading into the water to landing in the water).
A knee-height (to a heron) wire or fishing line around the pond. Works the same as the fence, but is a little less conspicuous.
No gentle slope to the pond, no shallow water in the pond. The deeper the pond, the better.

There are also gadgets, like predator decoys, motion-detectors attached to flashes, noises, or water sprays, but, as someone noted, herons may learn that these aren't really a danger.
 

jetajockey

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Yeah if they make a habit of eating there they will go in, decoy or not. At a few fishing spots the heron's will come right up behind you and open your cooler and start picking them out, I've even had them double team , one digging around in the bait bucket while the other was in the cooler, all at an arms reach.
 

gremlin

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I agree with the fence idea. Putting a barrier around the pond will make it more difficult for the heron to get into the pond. Fortunately, I do not have problems with herons. There isn't room for them to really land around my pond and I don't have anyplace for them to step into the water without it being too deep for them. I also have caves for my fish to hide in. I just made a couple of new ones. I used some big pvc pipe that my sister had left over from piping her irrigation. Cut it in half lengthwise, and glued rock to the outside with silicone.
 

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tilly99

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Thank you everyone...and thanks so much for the photos.Its really helpful to see what you mean.I think we will do everything you suggested,go and buy a fence tomorrow,start making some caves too. I hope the Heron doesnt come back! And yes, Idbrown,i have TWO dogs,who didnt hear a thing....it was in the wee small hours the Heron came.
 

ldbrown3138

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What about a motion sensor with strobe lights and noise.

The herons are quite skittish around here
 

sirdarksol

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Depending on the species of heron, they can be nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular (active primarily at twilight). Many herons like hunting when the light is really diffuse (such as during twilight or on really cloudy days), as it makes hunting easier.
Raccoon is another possibility. The best way to deal with both of them is to do as Gremlin did; make sure there's no easy way to step into the pond, and make sure the pond is too deep for them. Raccoons can't hunt and swim at the same time.
 
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tilly99

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It was definitely very early in the morning,as the goldfish was still alive when we found him at 8am in the morning. Its not a racoon,as we dont have them in this country. We have put a fence around the pond,and some pots and stuff,to make entry even more of an obstacle course. I dont know if a Heron would get down a rocky waterfall...it would have to get through some spiky plants?
 

platy ben

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When my dad had his heron attack, after he had put the fence up he saw the heron standing on his rocky waterfall, so I would make that blocked off aswel so the heron can't get on it.
 

sirdarksol

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The heron being on top of the waterfall isn't necessarily bad. It's only if it can get down into the pond where the fish is that would be a problem. If the waterfall drops into deep water and has a drop of a foot or so, the heron may have just been standing in a place it found comfortable.
 
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