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sleeplessinftwayne

Herons at my pond

15 years ago

I haven't seen the beautiful killers recently at my pond but I have seen them at a couple of nearby ponds since the ice melted. The river is likely to be too dangerous at a few inches to flood level. But they are at those other ponds. That makes me wonder about something I have accepted without thought. Just about every post on herons mentions they are wading birds and they need shelves to stand on to get the fish and so the necessity for straight sides.

The birds at those other ponds are not in the water. They are standing on the banks. A local restaurant looks over a pond with rip-rap sides and the birds have difficulty standing or wading on it. I have seen herons take fish at those ponds. At my own pond I have never seen the bird in the water before it attacks. It is always standing at the end outside the pond, beside the Skippy where there is no shelf before it dives head first into the water. Actually it has to hop over a foot high side to get in the water. It doesn't seem to be an impediment to a dive.

What am I missing here? Even the birds at the unflooded river often stand on a sandbar well out of the water and after a flurry of wings they dive headfirst to get their supper. They are not wading either. Why are my observations not agreeing with what seems to be accepted fact here? Sandy

Comments (13)

  • 15 years ago

    Hi
    I have the most trouble with night herons. I was amazed at how quickly they learned that the fish will come with water disturbance. Have seem them take a stick and dip it in the water . Dinner bell for the fish so they come running.. Stand in line to get eaten lol Obviously that would never happen in te wild so they learned it by obsevation.. i countered this by only feeding the fish within a wire cage . Works (somewhat)
    Once had an Osprey take a fish from me that I was hand feeding. Startled me so much I fell in the pond lol.
    No wading for them lol gary

  • 15 years ago

    Sandy, I found this about their feeding habits on the link below. We mostly have great blues, common egrets, and american bitterns here. I'm sure other varieties may have adapted their feeding techniques.

    "Feeding Habits of the Great Blue Heron
    The great blue heron has two principal fishing techniques. The first consists of standing motionless, its neck extended at an angle of about 45 degrees to the surface of the water. Only its head and eyes move to locate the prey. If no prey comes within range after a few minutes, the heron gradually moves a short distance away and takes up a similar position. When a potential meal comes close enough, the heron slowly folds its neck back and moves one leg in the direction of the prey. Suddenly, its entire body unbends, its head plunges into the water, it catches the prey in its bill, and it swallows it outside the water, using a deft movement of the head to drop the prey headfirst into its gullet.

    A similar technique is used to hunt small rodents in pastures, meadows and similar habitats. Herons stab or clamp on their prey, using their bills like barbecue tongs.

    Using the second technique, the heron slowly wades around in 6-12 inches of water until it drives a fish out from its hiding place. The heron then stops and slowly stretches its neck. When the prey is within range, the bird uncoils its body and thrusts its head into the water after it. After eating the catch, the heron resumes its walk. Should the bird fail to find sufficient fish in an area, it flies a short distance away and resumes fishing.

    When its catch is too large to be gulped down immediately or has dangerous spines, the heron drops it back into the water and grabs hold of it repeatedly and violently with its beak until it is dazed or the spines snap. Then it can be swallowed more easily. Sometimes two fish are caught simultaneously.

    Other techniques are observed more rarely: for example, great blue herons in flight sometimes dive underwater to catch fish; others hover over the water and submerge their heads to catch fish; and some swim in deep water and feed on fish found near the surface."

    Sarah

    Here is a link that might be useful: Great Blue Heron

  • 15 years ago

    Instead of completely covering your pond with a net ,which looks ugly to me , heres what I do . I stuck some 3 foot tall Bamboo stakes around my pond which is 20' x 10' and ran 2 rows of string between the poles . One at the top and one in the middle. The heron cant get its head over the strings so it goes somewhere else . Havent seen it in a month and it was eating my fish as the ice was melting . You can also use clear fishing line so its not as noticable . Rick

  • 15 years ago

    Here is a link to pictures of a Heron I took last year. He didn't even get his "toes" wet. :-)

    Enjoy.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Hungry Heron

  • 15 years ago

    Here is a link to pictures of a Heron I took last year. He didn't even get his "toes" wet. :-)

    Enjoy.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Hungry Heron

  • 15 years ago

    Beautiful photographs docgecko. where exactly do you live? Down here, we see them just starting to come in, as our canals are slowly filling. We have the huge white great herons too. We have a large empty, low spot in our back yard that must fill with insects in early morn, where sometimes we will see a flock of 10 or more feasting on whatever is there in the tall grasses. And the canal is only another 50 or so feet, which they are ignoring.
    Nicci

  • 15 years ago

    I hate to tell you all this but the heron that comes to my pond does indeed dive. I have seem him do it. Sandy

  • 15 years ago

    Of course it is possible he is just very clumsy and fell in head first. Sandy

  • last year

    This is such an old thread, I hope someone interested in herons still will see it. We’re in Texas, a few miles from a marsh preserve. First time in 15 years, a juvenile Yellow Crowned Night heron visited our pool/spa last week. She was here for a few days. She flew in again today. She likes to sit in the spa - it’s quite amusing. She sits with water up to her shoulders and dunks her head. The water is probably over 95 degrees, as today’s temp is 100, with feels like temp of 108. My worry is that she may not be eating enough to nourish her. We of course have no fish or crustaceans for her. We do have small lizards, some toads, frogs, and field rats. The rats run the fences, sometimes climb adjacent tree, forage flower beds and gardens. Every night I see what I tell myself is the same rat, ‘running the fences’. For many years there was a very large field one street over; now it is just large. Is anyone aware of herons feeding on rats? I wouldn’t worry about her so much if she was capable of catching those fast little critters. A couple of those per night would be a good meal, I would think. Oh, we also have opossums that come in baby season. Baby possums would also make a good meal for the heron. I have seen them swimming on the baby ledge of our pool. That was crazy. Seems the wildlife uses our pool more than we do these days.

  • last year

    This is for anyone who has trouble with herons. He ate all my expensive koi. I got a DECOY, and never had another problem.

  • last year

    They see the decoy and don't come down, because they are territorial.

  • 4 months ago

    I have tried the decoy, perimeter string, motion activated water spray and noise makers. The only thing that I know that works for sure is a 100# German Shepard.


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