When a Young Heron´s Heart Turns to Fancy
Because of a heron´s respect for another heron´s territory, for a number of years the best heron deterrent was considered to be a life-size plastic heron positioned next to your fishpond. However, the RSPB has found that plastic herons will more likely attract other herons rather than deter them – particularly younger herons looking for a mate.
Although the video of a short-sighted heron copulating on your lawn with a “Cinerea Plastica” might win a cash prize on “You´ve Been Framed”, it is not going to solve the issue of your fish disappearing in a post-coital supper (heron´s do not smoke after sex). Trying some of the alternatives below may prove more successful in your quest to discover how to keep herons away.
Steep-sided, deep ponds with plenty of coverage make it much harder for the heron to feed. Herons prefer shallow water with easy fishing, and would rather find another food source than wait for ages for your fish to surface.
The downside of building a deep pond is that it will make the pond unsuitable as a bathing and drinking site for all other birds. Furthermore, if your fish are experiencing a happy and secure life at the bottom of your pond, it will negatively affect the enjoyment you get from having fish in the first place.
Pond nets, suspended immediately above the water, provide a reasonable amount of protection for your fish if the area surrounding your pond is suitable for such an installation. Alternatively, having just part of your pond netted will give shelter to your fish when a heron is stalking them.
Unfortunately, even narrow netting is not totally reliable, as herons have long bills and will stab at the fish through it. Although the heron will not be able to extract the fish through the netting, you may find your pond full of dead and injured fish once the heron has given up and flown away.
Erecting a fence around the perimeter of your pond at the water´s edge often has the desired effect. If the area surrounding your pond is suitable, you could place small fence posts (20cm to 35cm) into the ground and connect them with string, twine or wire mesh.
Herons are adverse to barriers of this nature and, other than in the example at the top of the page, would struggle to get their leg over. However, your garden may not be suitable for a fence or it may detract from the landscape image you are trying to create.
If none of these solutions are suitable for your garden, or fail to keep herons away, please review our page dedicated to the best heron deterrents.