Heron proofing a pond is essential for keeping fish safe from harm. Luckily, many of these solutions are effective against cats, which combined with herons, will quickly put your hobby to an end as long as your pond remains unguarded.
Concentrated around rivers and wetlands, herons will target ponds during periods of bad weather and for an easy meal come breeding season. Young birds, venturing off in June-July, will target ponds for an easy meal.
Difficult to catch in the act, herons fish at dusk and dawn. They prefer to hunt in the water, where they remain motionless, before thrusting their neck into the water and swallowing fish whole. Herons will generally land nearby and prefer to wade into ponds. Thus, high banks can help protect your fish.
Herons are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), so it is illegal to use clinical solutions.
Restricting Access and Visibility
Key is to prevent unimpeded access to the water’s surface. Herons have a reach of about 60cm and can put their beaks through 5cm gaps.
Access can be impeded with vertical sides and low water levels. A downside to this is ponds will be less attractive to other wildlife, and hedgehogs will fall in. Sides need to be reinforced to prevent collapse.
Fences, electric and otherwise, as well as tripwires can secure a pond. Velda’s tripwire is made of nylon, which is invisible to herons, and complete with little bells that help scare; their electric fence is also effective against cats.
Pond crop netting and fish tiles can be used to prevent access. Primrose stocks netting with small 1.2cm gaps, and interlocking fish tiles that can be used to completely cover a pond or just the perimeter.
Every pond benefits from fountains and pond plants, which promote oxygenation, although they also provide cover for fish. It should be noted that many pond plants will die back in winter, so artificial lily pads or floating planters can be used.
Herons prefer large vistas where they can easily spot approaching predators. Tall shrubs enclosing an area will make them wary.
Highly recommended come our jet spray repeller. Complete with a motion sensor, our repeller will release a 5 second spray of water, which will scare the bejesus out of any heron or cat.
We also stock a laser guard, which will use a combination of sound and light to scare away any heron approaching your pond.
Similarly, ornamental eyeball scarers will startle herons by reflecting flashes of light into their eyes.
Decoys can be used to scare away herons, although their effectiveness is disputed. You can make your own in human form or otherwise, or buy a heron decoy.
Whatever solution you choose to use maintenance is essential. Ingenious, herons will exploit any weakness in your defences. Solutions can be used in tandem, so if one fails, another can prevent herons accessing your fish.
Jorge works in the Primrose marketing team. He is an avid reader, although struggles to stick to one topic!
His ideal afternoon would involve a long walk, before settling down for scones.
Jorge is a journeyman gardener with experience in growing crops.