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

10 Heron Facts

1. The blue heron is the most common and largest of North American herons.

2. Great blue herons are waders, typically seen along coastlines, in marshes, or near the shores of ponds or streams.

3. They are expert fishers. Herons snare their aquatic prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills.

4. Great blue herons have been known to choke to death by attempting to swallow fish too large for their long, S-shaped necks. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures.

5. Great blue herons’ size (3.2 to 4.5 feet/1 to 1.4 meters) and wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet/1.7 to 2 meters) make them a joy to see in flight.

6. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) an hour.

7. Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs.

8. Females produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate.

9. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age.

10. The all-white color morph found in the Caribbean and southern Florida is often called the great white heron, but it is in fact the same species.

Spiritual Inspiration

Native Americans believe that the great blue heron is nature’s representation of the ability to evolve and to find one’s own way. They are a reflection of the journey to self-realization and clarity of purpose. Their long delicate legs are likened to unusual pillars of strength. “The Great Blue Heron is a majestic bird who teaches us the wisdom of standing still, waiting patiently, while what we need comes to us.” Read more of this Care2 article.

Watch: The Great Blue Heron


Please share your heron stories. I would love to know what to do about my “scattering” of herons (that’s what a grouping of herons are called). I am assuming there may not be much I can do. I love having fish in the pond, but if I stock the pond again…

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Lynn Demsky
Lynn D.2 years ago

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!

Dale O.

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

Neil A.
Neil A.3 years ago

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??

Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

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

John S.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks, sorry about the fish.

Kevin B.
Kevin B.4 years ago

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

Maira Sun
Maira Sun4 years ago


Janel C.
Janel C.5 years ago

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.

Bruce Mowbray
Bruce Mowbray5 years ago

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..

Christopher Gomez

Blue Herons are Great, ha!!