Opened the curtains this morning to see a Heron at the side of my pond, shouted, let the dogs out and he flew off but I think he`s had a large fish . We have two ponds, a large one for the adult fish ( koi, shumbuns,comets) and a smaller one for the babies , ponds next to each other, one flowing into the other . This is the first time we have seen a heron around, is netting the only solution or do decoy herons or geese really work please ? Thanks for any advice
If the net were tightly stretched a foot or two above the water, the herons couldn't get close enough to stab your fish.
An outdoor dog is one of the best deterrents. I've never heard of anyone loosing fish while a dog was on the job, though I suppose it's possible if the heron were bold and the dog were either lazy or fast asleep. And I suppose it's possible a dog might learn to fish, but I've never heard of that either.
Heron statues may help, but I think a humanoid scarecrow is more likely to be effective. With any passive scarecrow, you have to move the thing around or the herons will figure out it's just furniture. Also the boldest birds will land anyway, and when the scarecrow doesn't do anything, they'll go fishing. For this reason, a scarecrow that moves in the wind will probably work better than one that doesn't.
There are lots of other things that will work some of the time. People who have those motion-triggered sprinklers seem pretty satisfied, but that won't work for winter, and you'll probably get soaked a few times too. Trip wires will help if you can guard all approaches to the pond and there's no place to land inside the "fence", but these can be quite effective at tripping ponders too. I think a pet fencer would be more likely to work. Herons are cautious birds, and should give up on the pond entirely after a good jolt. I seriously doubt they'd persist through enough zaps to figure the thing out. But if you forget to turn it off when you work around the pond, you'll probably wish you'd used fishline instead. Then there's that traditional japanese gizmo. I forget what it's called, but water runs into it until the container reaches the tipping point, then a loud wood on wood whack and the sound of rushing water should scare most herons off. Of course, the noise may drive you or your neighbors to distraction as well. Shooting the bird with an air-soft gun (plastic BB's) is non-lethal and is said to scare them off for good, but this may be illegal where the law forbids harassment of herons, and you'll need some other defense when you're not watching.
Kater, I'm generally in agreement with the above. I live close to a wetlands reserve which attracts a lot of Heron's (it's not unusual to see them flying past every day) and they regularily stop by to have a look at my pond.
Probably 'tempting fate' saying this, but to date I haven't lost a single fish. My defence is a basic plastic netting fixed a couple of feet above the water level and an electric fence around the perimeter (this pond has only been built for about a year, my previous smaller pond had a Heron proof fence around it).
The netting is temporary as I intend to take this off and replace it with a few (almost invisible) runs of fishing line. Before moving the netting I was hoping to see a Heron touching the electric fence to see if it realy worked. To date I've seen seen the birds land and walk right up to the fence but not actually touch it.
Otter, I realy don't know if they can sense the Electricity or not. I don't believe that electric fences are heavily used so I would doubt if they have learned to recognise them. The fence that I have has plastic posts (non-conductive)so the appearance is virtually identical to a standard (non-electrified) wire fence.
My concern, and the reason that I haven't moved the net yet, is that either the Heron may not feel 'pain' from a small electric shock or that it's feathers provide sufficient insulation to prevent any shock occuring.
Thanks all for the suggestions . We do have two dogs but this heron landed very early morning before the dogs were let out . I have made a point of having the dogs outside as much as possible this week and have put a rather grim decoy duck into the pond and an equally grim heron at the side and so far so good . The irony is that last week , we sadly had to have our dear cat put to sleep , she was 15 years old and lived ( out of choice !) in the greenhouse which overlooks the pond . All the time we had her, we never ever saw a heron and then within a couple of days of losing her, the damn thing landed on our pond. I dont really want another cat as I am still grieivng but maybe in time, this might be a good idea ! Ironically, she never tried to catch the fish and whilst our dogs watch them , they dont make any attempt either . However, the decoy duck is proving a temptation to the pair of them !