Over the last few days there have been reports in the Chedworth Village Facebook page about herons removing all or almost all the fish from garden ponds.
Here are some tips from the RSPB:
- Instead of keeping goldfish, why not convert a pond into a wildlife pond with native plants and animals in areas where herons are causing persistent problems.
- Netting the pond, or providing the fish with cover to hide underneath are perhaps best options.
- Steep-sided deep ponds are less prone to herons than shallow ones that allow easy fishing, although this makes the pond unsuitable as a bathing and drinking site for all birds.
- A fence-like barrier with taut wires or strings 20 and 35 cm above the water surface erected at the edge of the water can prevent a heron from reaching the fish.
- Scarers based on a trip-wire system that the heron activates are commercially available.
- Audio scaring may be possible. Alarm call of a heron is unlikely to be work on its own, and so a special tape is available that combines the alarm call with the sound of gunshot.
- Human presence is as good deterrent as any. If birds associate people with danger, a human-shaped scarer may work well. It is worth reinforcing the behaviour from time to time with a real person in similar clothing walking about.
- A plastic heron will more likely attract other herons rather than deter them.