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

Help!

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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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.

90 comments

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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

Gracias!

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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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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