Bird Lovers can’t be Koi Lovers…I explain

This post will definitely go under “off topic” though it dose pertain to water gardens.  

Last thing you want to see in your pond!

Last thing you want to see in your pond!

      I would assume many gardeners are bird lovers and outdoor lovers  as well.  And if you are a brand new water gardener,  then you may not know that the arch nemesis of a water garden with goldfish or koi, throughout most of the USA, is the Heron. This is one birdyou never want to catch in your  fishpond, they have only come for one reason, your backyard buffet.

Small & very pretty green heron, Still gonna eat your fish!

Small & very pretty green heron, Still gonna eat your fish!

In much of the country people don’t even know herons are in their area, they seem like large birds you may only find in th southern swamps. They are usually a protected species, some a foot tall, some four feet tall with a six foot wingspan. Found commonly hanging out next to water gardens in the early morning around sunrise or wading in the shallow end of a pond, a heron can swallow a 24″ fish and take off quickly. They love backyard ponds, as they are small, shallow, and the fish are usually bright colors, could we make it any easier for these birds? I don’t think so. . .  .

The Scarecrow I talk about, cost about $65-$79 as of 2008

The Scarecrow I talk about, cost about $65-$79 as of 2008

Now winter is a very common time to find these birds in your yard. For fish to live, we generally keep a hole in the ice here in the north, with a pump or trough deicer.  These birds have less and less open water to hunt  and they easily see our water gardens open water reflect like a mirror in the sky. Lakes and streams with fish are iced over but we provide a tiny open space of open water, on top of that, the fish are bright orange and red or white or yellow. These birds will come back until the pond is empty, however we can keep them away pretty easy. A scarecrow, battery operated device is sold almost everywhere & works on all animals, it one in has a motion detector and shoots a stream of chilly water at animals that come by the pond. You can set one in the area in which it protects so that you can come up behind it without getting sprayed. Most people, myself included, forget about the device and normally walk right by it, and you  may get a little spray of water at your butt.   It protects the pond and after a few squirts the bird will stop coming around for good. 

Another option is a decoy heron, these birds are territorial, move the plastic decoy from one side of the pond to the other every 7 days as birds are smart and flyover birds will notice the decoy never moves, after a while. Make sure you have plenty of submerged plants, as fish can hide from the birds in submerged grasses like anacharis or hornwort.

Last of all, a small line of fishing line around the pond ,about 14 inches high, is invisible to the heron and they only way they can get to the pond is to walk in, when they reach your fishing line fence, they cannot move any closer to the pond and don’t know what is in the way, they will then fly off. The fishing line is not unattractive, is inexpensive and easy to put up .Once the heron is gone, you can take it down.

 E-mail me if you need help finding anything.


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