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Help, Great Blue Herons Are Eating My Fish! (With Video)

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Help, Great Blue Herons Are Eating My Fish! (With Video)

Do you know what comedian, Robin Williams says about springtime? “Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party!” And, what a fun party it is here in the Northeast. The flowers are blooming, the temps are warm and sunny, and the birds are renewing their vows to come back and visit. Just when I thought the party was under control, I was recently awoken at 5:15 am by my two dogs engaged in the throws of an early morning spring barking frenzy.

A Pond Story

The sun was beginning to rise and the dogs were at the glass doors that lead out to a deck next to the pond. They were making such a commotion (unusual for my generally mellow pooches). I got up to see what all the fuss was about, and standing elegantly on very long legs was a great blue heron with one of our colorful koi fish dangling from its beak. I opened the door and let the beasts out to scare it away. The heron stoically looked up and glided up into the air and perched on a tall tree. It held its ground while the guys went nuts, and then took off. I went out to check the damages and noticed a few fish missing (or maybe hiding in fear).

A few hours later, a large shadow came over the house and the dogs started yapping, “He’s back!” Descending from the sky over my woods and pond, were not one, not two, but three great blue herons. They swooped down and it was like chow time at Jurassic Park. This time I just watched the magnificent and massive creatures in awe. I noticed their quiet confidence and seemingly calm temperament, as they were ready to seize the opportunity to obliterate the aquatic life in my pond. If two ninety-pound barking dogs didn’t scare them the first time, I wasn’t really sure what would. After wading in the pond, the three otherworldly looking birds took off in flight with slow, steady wing beats.

I was left with a dilemma: I feel somewhat graced by having the beauty of the herons at my home, but I love my pond life and all of the joy it’s given my family. Is there anyway we could live in harmony? I quickly jumped into nature investigator role and started to research herons. I found some interesting facts from National Geographic and a few remarkable spiritual connections.

Next: 10 Fascinating Heron facts plus a cool video

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
4:02AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Herons are more special then the pond fish --- try buying cheaper fish (maybe minnows) and enjoy the Herons! Thanks for feeding them! and, Happy St. Paddy's Day!

8:55PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

Herons are fascinating birds and have quite the appetite as Nature intended. Just be careful of those alligators!

2:09AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

It is usually simple to put strong thin string at the height they would wade & they will not risk tripping over this.
I do not like these fish killers but admire their patience.
NB do not forget they are NOT YOUR fish!! nobody should own any animal just friendship or mutual relationship??

9:47PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

I have heard of this problem before. Thanks for your post.

1:28PM PDT on May 28, 2011

Thanks, sorry about the fish.

1:35AM PDT on May 20, 2011

there is almost everything to read, Brilliant post No doubt this is an excellent post I got a lot of knowledge after reading good luck. wood pellet machine

2:26AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011


8:26AM PDT on Oct 4, 2010

I think you should at least try to protect the Koi.They are literally "sitting ducks" in the pond.It is small,contained,and there is no where for them to go when the herons arrive.They didn't ask to be there and would probably rather not be lunch.

6:23AM PDT on Sep 18, 2010

We thought it would be nice to have some koi in our natural pond but as Ronnie found out, these fish might as well be a neon sign flashing "eat me" to the herons. We since replaced the koi with natural native fish like bluegill and bass. These fish are less noticeable to the birds and have no trouble reproducing and staying ahead of the amount the birds can eat. I even have the fish trained by feeding them when I go over to the pond. I throw them a worm or two when I can find them. Now, a group of them follow me around the pond edge when I'm near. Very cute..

9:13AM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Blue Herons are Great, ha!!

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