Feeding Herons

Do you know what starts to happen after your pond has been around for a few years, goldfish multiplying, getting larger?

It starts to get noticed. Sure, the water is pretty well hidden by trees, but when your diet is made up primarily of fish and frogs, you must develop an eye for these things. Unfortunately.


The water in the pond is a bit murky right now as the plant population hasn't yet gotten to the size where it will start controlling the excess nutrients in the water, but I'm still able to see the fish swimming around.

Except, I've only seen the little ones (image from mid-March):

I thought that the bigger ones were just hiding, or deeper in the water. Now I know that at least some of them are gone, as I watched this great blue heron down one of the big orange ones yesterday.

Even though I checked to see if any fish were visible last evening (they were), I still woke up in a panic this morning, certain that the heron was out there clearing out even the small ones this morning.

It only flew off after I ran down there.

I suspect it's been back though, and that all of the big ones are gone. I suppose I'll have to install some netting over part of the pond, at least until the surface plants grow up a bit, providing more protection.

Just a second after swallowing the goldfish.

I know it's Nature, the cycle of life, but it still gets me a bit down. I should have done more.

I wonder if that's why the frogs are so nervous, jumping into the water while I'm still 40' (12m) away from them?

So the excitement of seeing such a large, beautiful bird in the yard was tempered by the loss of one of my "old friends".  Sigh.

All images in this post were captured with my video camera not my DSLR, hence the less-than-normal quality.


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Kathy G  – (May 5, 2014 at 7:47 AM)  

I had no idea a small pond like yours would attract fish-loving birds!

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (May 5, 2014 at 7:48 AM)  

I'm sorry for your loss.
Great photos.

Alan  – (May 5, 2014 at 8:53 AM)  

Kathy: Me neither. Now I know.

Maywyn: Thanks!

outlawgardener  – (May 5, 2014 at 9:24 AM)  

I'm sorry, Alan! These are amazing birds to watch but not in our ponds! A short electric fence, 6" and 12" above the ground is the only thing that I found that worked to keep my pond from becoming a raccoon and heron buffet.

LostRoses  – (May 5, 2014 at 10:53 AM)  

I feel your pain but honestly, if herons came to my pond I'd keep it stocked with feeder goldfish! What chaps me is the raccoons that take a bite out of a goldfish and throw them aside. Pick your predator, I guess!

Kris Peterson  – (May 5, 2014 at 12:49 PM)  

Nature does have its ugly side, doesn't it?

Lisa  – (May 5, 2014 at 8:52 PM)  

Ah! The heron... the dread of every ponder. We have dozens of herons and snowy egrets that fly over head between the marsh and the ponds in our subdivision on a daily basis. So far, they have ignored us and I pray ever day that they continue to do so!

Great pictures of a bad situation!

VirginiaC  – (May 6, 2014 at 5:10 AM)  

So sorry that you have lost your friend...hopefully you can get the netting up and secured on some pvc posts to keep that heron at bay.

Alan  – (May 6, 2014 at 6:57 AM)  

Thanks everybody! Don't think I'll be putting up al electric fence or even the netting, as they would create more problems than they solve I think.

LostRoses: The heron are like deer: love to see them, anxious about what they may do. I like visitors that nibble, not gulp!

Lisa: sounds like you have plenty of food-producing habitat around, I wouldn't think they'd go looking for other food sources like your pond.

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