There are several ways to protect a garden pond from herons. Ultimately, you have to decide which variant is best for your garden pond.
For many lovers of ornamental fish and farmed fish, the garden pond is a welcome alternative to the aquarium. And especially those who want to keep Koi carp cannot avoid a garden pond of a certain size. Now some farmed fish are not only beautiful to look at, but also valuable and expensive to buy. All the more annoying when a natural predator wants to take the fun out of your fish. Of course, even a heron has to feed itself and its food is fish. But he doesn’t necessarily have to fish them out of a garden pond. Even if just native ornamental-fish from garden-ponds are a gladly chosen loot. But don’t worry: there are enough effective means to prepare your own garden pond safely against herons.
You should never forget that the grey heron is a protected species. So of course you cannot take all possible measures against the predator – but there are still enough effective ways to prevent herons from visiting your garden pond regularly. We expressly advise against measures that could go in the direction of cruelty to animals. For example, some pond owners have already installed small electric fences in the past to get rid of herons. There are many other possibilities, which are much less extreme and still achieve good results. Because despite all the anger about the loss of fish – even a heron is an animal with a pronounced sense of pain.
How does a heron hunt?
To understand how to get rid of a heron the easiest way, you must first understand how herons hunt at all. Basically, you can assume that the danger that herons pose to native fish is greatest in spring. This is simply because herons have to feed their hungry young in spring. The heron probes from safe height the area under itself after a suitable feeding place. For example, he is looking for a stream, a lake or even a pond. If it has found a promising place, the heron sets out to land. He needs a lot of space for that. And once he has landed, he stands directly on the shore or in the shallow water and waits until he gets a fish in front of his beak.
These peculiarities of the heron already offer important and interesting clues as to how it is best to keep herons permanently away from the domestic pond. In total there are 8 possibilities, which partly work well and partly very well. However, it must also be said that herons are different. So not every method works the same for every animal.
8 ways to effectively protect a garden pond from herons
As mentioned above, herons or grey herons are protected species, so that it is not allowed to set traps, harm the animals in any other way or even kill them. But that is not even necessary. There are much better ways to keep herons out of your garden without harming the animal in any way.
❶ heron bustard:
The easiest and cheapest way to protect your garden pond from herons is to set up a plastic bird. As mentioned, herons from the air sound out the area among them in search of a feeding place. In principle, however, you will never see two herons standing next to each other on a bank. Water-places, that are already “occupied” by other herons, are avoided by the herons as a rule. The only exception is when there is real need and the need for food is particularly great. Then it can come to turf wars. A heron will quickly notice that your dummy does not move in the garden and does not defend itself. So if one day you come to your pond and the heron, which you have put down there as a kind of scarecrow, is lying in the grass, you can assume that one or two fish might be missing. For this reason, it makes sense to combine the Fish Heron Dummy (e.g. available at Amazon.de) with one of the other defense options.
❷ heron fright:
The heron fright is a combination of a garden hose and a motion detector (e.g. available at Amazon.de). If an object, such as a heron, enters the sensor of the motion detector, a water jet is emitted in that direction. Herons do not like that at all and usually retreat very fast again. Alternatively there is the heron fright also with an acoustic signal instead of a water jet. Both variants are equally effective – but of course they also start when a person or a much smaller bird approaches the pond. In return, the heron fright automatically expels foreign cats from the garden. Reading tip: Banishing cats from the garden – 5 effective tips.
❸ mirror pyramid:
Herons shy away from everything that flashes and glitters when they go hunting. A smooth water surface is still fine. But if, for example, a small pyramid with several mirrors floats on the water and reflects the sunlight in all directions, the heron quickly loses the desire to hunt in your garden. Because a heron needs rest when hunting. The lightning and glitter just distracts him.
Of course you can buy such a pyramid. But you can also easily build the object yourself. Simply glue mirror foil from the outside onto a waterproof body that has the shape of a pyramid and you have built your own little heron scarecrow.
❹ herons take landing possibility:
As mentioned, a heron needs space for landing. In addition, the stork-like bird always lands directly at the water. You will never see a heron landing anywhere in your garden and then walking through your garden to the pond. So if you design the area close to your pond in such a way that the heron cannot land there, it will look for another hunting ground. This can be done, for example, by placing round stones around the pond, on which the heron cannot find a foothold. Porcelain or stone figurines are also a wonderful decoration around the pond and at the same time a stumbling block for a heron that wants to land.
❺ Block approach lane:
A heron flies in an arc to the earth and then approaches its target near the ground. If the garden around the pond is built in such a way that a landing here would be possible, then it can make sense to block the entrance area. This is possible, for example, by planting high bushes at a distance from the pond that is not too great. Or you can hang a bird net or leaf protection net in the area where a heron would fly to your pond. However, with this variant you must ensure that other smaller birds may also get caught in the net. If this is the case, you must remove the net as soon as possible.
❻ herons take possibility to stand:
When a heron hunts, it stands directly on the water or in the shallow waters of the shore waiting for a fish to approach. If you have a pond that has shallow edges, you should make sure that a storklike bird such as the heron with its 80 cm long thin legs cannot stand there. You can do this in several ways. For example by appropriate planting of this pond area (reading tip: Plant pond – you should pay attention to this). Or by stretching a net over the shallow areas.
❼ Stretch the wire over the pond:
One of the most elaborate, but also probably the most successful method is the stretching of thin wires over the pond. For this you can use flower wire or fishing line. If you want to tension such a grid, you should tension wires in one direction at a distance of 30 cm and then lay additional wires at right angles to it every 50 cm. Thus, a very coarse-meshed net that does not catch any animals, but takes the heron any possibility in the water position to take or even approach to the water surface. If you decide to use a fishing line, you also have the positive effect that the wire glitters in the sun, which further discourages herons.
❽ Fishing provide a hiding place:
Also fish have instincts and notice when a heron is nearby. A wonderful way to supplement and round off one of the above measures is to place a plastic pipe in the pond. The diameter of the pipe should be large enough to allow several fish to swim in. And it shouldn’t be too short either. If the pond is big enough we recommend a simple plastic pipe from the DIY store with a length of about 2 meters. If a heron approaches, the fish in the pond will quickly tear themselves apart and try to get to safety. In said pipe the heron does not see your fish any more and does not come also no more to these.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.