Herons are beautiful, but they can be a pest in your Oklahoma pond! They can eat fish, frogs, and even squirrels! If you find a fish missing with no trace whatsoever, you may have a heron.
Here are some tips for keeping herons out of your pond.
WHAT TO DO?
Scarecrow - You might try a "scarecrow", a motion-activated sprinkler that should blast the heron with water when it walks up. However, they can be persistent and once they figure out that it won't hurt them, they don't mind it.
Decoy - Another option is a heron decoy. They do figure out that they are not a real bird though.
Fishing line - Sometimes fishing line tied tautly around the edges of the pond help. They can't see it and it startles them when their leg hits it.
Hiding Places - One of the best ways to help your fish avoid the long and pointy beak of the heron is to provide them with coverage. Lilies, floating plants and a fish cave all provide places for the fish to hide and make it harder for a heron to see the fish.
Talk radio - Heron also won't come around when there are people nearby. Leaving a radio on a talk station nearby can help deter them.
Dogs - Dogs are an excellent deterrent for herons! If it works to leave Fluffy out in the yard, he will keep that heron away!
Netting - Putting a netting tautly over the pond will keep birds out. You won't have to leave it on forever, but it may take a while for herons to get the message!
Trees - Plant some trees and put some bushes on the side of the pond that faces open space. Heron need a minimum of about 6 feet to land in. An open space without trees makes a great landing strip which allows them to walk up carefully to the pond for a snack. Ponds with trees around them have less trouble with herons.
A combination of some of these will help keep your fish safe!
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Tim Trammell has been building, designing, servicing and maintaining pond in the Oklahoma City Metro area for over 20 years. His company Continental Ponds, is Oklahoma's first Master Certified Aquascape Contractor and is an national award winning pond and water feature builder.