If you have koi or goldfish in your garden pond, deterring herons from returning can be a difficult task. While herons are beautiful to look at, they are a predator bird. If given the opportunity, herons won’t think twice about eating any of the fish, frogs, salamanders, and other organisms living in your pond.
As most homeowners are aware, there is a never-ending list of pest control options available when it comes to keeping nosy wildlife at bay. With that being said, herons can be especially stubborn. If they know your pond has fish, they’ll keep coming back until they’ve completely fished it out. In this article, we take a look at the best pond protectors from herons.
1. Pond Netting
Perhaps the most effective heron deterrent for ponds is a netting system. The netting sits right over the surface of the water, adding an extra layer of protection between the herons and fish. Herons must be able to physically reach into the water with their beaks to catch fish, so this method certainly acts as a quality deterrent.
With that being said, there are some serious downsides that come with pond netting. To be fully effective, pond netting should cover the entire surface of the water. It’s important to note that this can inhibit the view of your pond and can take away some of its visual appeal.
2. Pond Fencing
Homeowners wondering how to keep herons out of koi ponds often turn to pond fencing strategies even before nets. Using a pond fence allows you to retain your pond’s beauty while also deterring pesky herons.
The methodology behind pond fencing is simple: deter the herons before they even reach the ponds edge. If herons can’t reach the sides of your pond, they won’t be able to reach the fish either. An electric perimeter fence is perhaps the most popular pond fence option, but fishing line and wire can also be used effectively.
3. Floating Pond Plants
If you’re looking for a more natural solution, the best heron deterrent for ponds is likely floating pond plants. These provide protection for fish in more ways than one. They can make it far more difficult for herons to spot the fish and effectively hunt for them. Furthermore, you’re fish will be more protected with the added cover, keeping them cooler and more comfortable during the summer months.
A couple popular floating pond plant options include water lilies and water hyacinths, both of which provide adequate shade and cover for fish. Not only will your fish benefit from the physical barrier between them and the herons, but your pond as a whole will become healthier with the added oxygen in the water.
4. Natural Barriers (Pond Edge Plants)
Natural pond barriers, such as pond edge plants, logs and rocks can also help prohibit herons from accessing the water. Pond edge plants not only make it more difficult for the herons to find fish, but will also add more oxygen to the water just as floating pond plants would. These refuge areas underneath plants and logs are crucial for fish habitat. They offer a comfortable place to hide from herons and other predators that might be pestering your pond.
The first option many homeowners and property managers consider when looking into how to keep herons out of koi ponds is often decoys. There are endless options for decoys and scarecrows on the market, but a couple of popular choices include blue heron, grey heron, and alligator decoys.
Like many predator species, herons can be territorial. For this reason, placing one or two heron decoys around the edge of your pond should be enough to turn any real herons away. It should be mentioned that herons may not be deterred by decoys forever. It’s not a bad idea to combine the decoys with other methods such as adding pond plants or fencing.
Another effective option for deterring herons is to use motion-sensor or timed sprayers. These devices can act as a 24/7 lookout for predators like herons, raccoons, or bobcats. Sprinklers and sprayers are easy to set up and since they work on an automated system, there is very little hassle involved.
Motion sensor sprayers work by shooting a jet of water each time they are activated, scaring away predators in a humane manner. It’s best to situate sprayers in between plants, logs, and other barriers around the water, fortifying the entire pond edge.
7. Reflective Light
The goal with all heron deterrents is to scare or shock them enough to flee the pond. For this reason, mirrors and other sources of reflective light act as fantastic pond protectors. Mirrors are especially good options for garden ponds and other smaller water features.
Shiny reflective light in itself is usually enough to scare herons and other predators away. But if that doesn’t work, the heron is sure to be spooked when it sees a reflection of itself as it will likely think it’s another heron that’s come to fish the same pond.
Our last method for turning away predator birds is to use sound either via radio or an ultrasonic animal repellent. Such devices can usually emit a couple different sounds, a low-pitch ultrasound that humans can’t hear or a loud, obnoxious recording.
In most animal repellent sound devices, the louder recordings consist of barking noises or gunshots. Since most of these devices are also motion activated, the loud noises can become annoying after a while. Simply leaving a talk radio on nearby the pond is a great option if you are hoping to scare away the herons, but leave some of your garden pond’s peace and serenity intact.
What is the Best Heron Deterrent?
The best pond protector when it comes to herons and other predators is likely pond netting. There is no better way to prohibit herons from pestering your fish than putting a physical barrier between them. With that being said, pond netting comes with its own set of downsides too. You’re pond may be better suited for a combination of heron deterrents, such as the more subtle pond fencing, pond edge plants, and floating plants.
Keeping herons away from your koi or garden pond is no easy task, but by taking the right steps, it’s possible to protect your fish and improve your pond’s overall aesthetic too.