Goldfish v herons

edited 24 April 2019 at 10:12AM in Pets & Pet Care
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no1catmanno1catman Forumite
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edited 24 April 2019 at 10:12AM in Pets & Pet Care
Is there an effective way of keeping herons at bay, i.e. not losing any goldfish?

About two weeks ago witnessed - a heron near the pond in the process of devouring a large goldfish! Its head was up, trying to swallow the fish down. I still have 'flash-backs' about it!
Since then, have had a visit or two - sometimes on the boundary wall/fence, sometimes in the garden - especially between 9.00 & 10.00 am - but with the latter been able to chase it off. Have seen 30+ fish up so not too spooked.

But today the !!!!!! was persistent - down twice in the garden, looked around for about five-minutes then flew off. Went out, to have a look - magnolia trampled on, bits of it elsewhere - not a good sign. Latter in the morning, lurking nearer the pond, seen in time. And finally, got stuck under the raised pond net - with me out there shouting at it eventually got out and flew away - hopefully too traumatised to come back!
No sign, of the fish all day.

The pond is about 10.5' x 7.5', surrounding it and above is a four-poster pergola, with three more posts connecting to one of them to form a central archway, also there's a rockery cascade at the far end.
I used to have pond netting at ground level, but the !!!!!! just walked over it - found fish in two halves where it had bitten through the net but couldn't get the fish. Now have a frame two feet up connected to the posts, with netting over it, and on two sides, to help secure them - a line of planter tubs, to make an obstacle course.

Have tried a model plastic heron - but found that just attracted them, had a juvenile heron standing beside it giving it a quizzical look, while an adult looked on from the top of the fence!

Anybody had success keeping them at bay? Or put it another way - HELP.
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  • no1catmanno1catman Forumite
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    Update - impossible to estimate how many fish have been 'lost' - they are all staying done in the depths.
    If fish can be traumatised they are!!
    Have put food done - did hear one splash as a fish made a quick grab, and went swiftly back done.
    Fortunately, no sign of the heron today. Hopefully after that net entanglement he/she will go to easier fishing locations elsewhere.
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  • woodworm001woodworm001 Forumite
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    We've had interest from herons around our pond but I don't believe they have ever been successful.

    We have a net just above water level, though it's not taught enough for the heron to walk on. The other thing that may help in our case is we have quite a lot of pond plants so the fish have lots of hiding places. We don't use any heron scarers so it could be that we're just lucky.

    To be honest we inherited our pond and fish when we moved in so I'm no expert.
  • GlasweJenGlasweJen Forumite
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    My in laws have a water feature/fountain that sits beside their pond and occasionally the fountains beak opens and water pours out. The local birds don't know what to make of it and keep away. The static plastic heron didn't work for them either.
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  • Claddagh_NoirCladdagh_Noir Forumite
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    You can purchase one of those resin herons and place it near your pond. I have never had an issue since having one. The only issue is if a cat wants to come near :eek: but there is netting over the pond.
  • Herons need fish and the like to survive, you don't. Sorry to sound so unsympathetic, I have an occasional visit from a heron to my pond and accept it as part of nature.
  • BellisimaBellisima Forumite
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    A heron practically emptied our pond of fish. Heartbreaking. I know it’s nature and herons have to eat, but we loved our fish! Our local aquatic centre suggested we put wire attached to short posts around the pond at about 6” high. They said herons walk into a pond from the edge so the wire would be a barrier. Great idea but it didn’t work! Due to having a garage built we had to fill in the pond (the handful of fish went to a good home). We are today having a raised pond delivered and if the heron returns I will be covering the pond with a cover - saw some stiff small squared wire fencing at B&Q which should do the job. Worth a try?
  • CapricornLassCapricornLass Forumite
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    We have heron problems too - there is a heronry about five miles away from us.

    We have built a frame about 2 foot high from aluminium tubing and attached netting, and which covers the entire pond. Its not the prettiest thing as the world but at least saves the squawking from my husband when he discovers the heron has paid a visit! Added bonus is that it also helps keep the leaves out of the pond in Autumn.

    If you don't want to live in a house looking as if its auditioning to be the next Fort Knox, fishing lines or string on stakes around the pond, again to a height of 2 foot or so, will also help deter them.

    What you must avoid is having any kind of empty ledge which the heron can land into in, (they'll fly over the fishing line and just land on the ledge instead) so plenty of big tall plants around the edge and make sure there is plenty of coverage for the fish to hide in, eg. things like water lilies with nice big pads, or even elodea. You also don't want anything too stark - most pond liners are black, and some of those fish show up very brightly against it..... as we discovered to our cost when we had to clean out our pond a couple of years ago.
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  • mudbozmudboz Forumite
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    seen them on ebay- might work? but if they dont its good fun?
  • womble65womble65 Forumite
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    we put a pagoda over ours and them camouflage netting over the top to give some shade. We used the same netting on the side just removed the camouflage bits, works a treat. ponds about 5X3 meters in size.
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