Tag Archives: Great Blue Heron

That great blue heron is never going to eat my fish again!

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron who ate a third of my fish before I caught him in the act

First nice day of the year, so….Time to clean the goldfish pond!

My hubby just finished cleaning the fishpond for the beginning of the new season. Each winter it gets all yucky. Then the first nice day of spring my hubby takes the filter apart and cleans everything.

All winter, we have had the pond covered with a floating net made for that purpose. It was to keep the heron from eating any more of my fish… ( I am having mixed feelings about the magnificent Great Blue Heron that’s been visiting our goldfish pond… )

Rick the Grandpa Goldfish

This is a Picture of Rick. He is one of the casualties…

The fish who are left are waking up, too. All winter they kind of float on the bottom of the pond in a state of suspended animation. They don’t eat all winter long, either.

Now, though, they are swimming around near the surface. I even say one boy fish chasing after a girl fish….. and that means more babies!

We have lots of room for babies since the Great Blue Heron ate a third of my fish. But, it will be the last time!

 This is our new fish hiding place. I found it in a heating and cooling supply house. It is called a Multifit Wye. It is a fitting for heating and cooling ducts. It is now laying at the bottom of the pond.

I had originally bought a thingy called a Koi Kastle, but it was flimsy plastic, and way too expensive. I returned it. Read about it here: The squeaky wheel pays no return shipping charges

Here is a picture of my new goldfish hiding place from Great Blue Herons. When it warms up, my hubby is going to cover the wye with rocks so it will blend in with the bottom of the pond:

Multifit Wye - The place for my goldfish to hide from the Great Blue Heron

Multifit Wye from General Plastics - The new place for my goldfish to hide from the Great Blue Heron

It is about two and a half feet long with an eight inch opening and two six inch openings. I have been trying to brainstorm up a place where my goldfish can hide so that big bird can’t get to them. Otherwise, they are sitting ducks.

Woohoo. My babies are safe now! I’m happy!

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The squeaky wheel pays no return shipping charges…..

Koi KastleI just got off the phone with an internet store. I bought a product a couple of weeks ago that did not live up to it’s sales pitch….

The product I bought was a “Koi Kastle”. This product is intended to be a safe haven in which fish can hide from a predator.

The reason I wanted this product can be found in my blog entry entitled: I am having mixed feelings about the magnificent Great Blue Heron that’s been visiting our goldfish pond…

As I  said in that blog entry, I am both a bird watcher and a Pet Mom. I was excited to see such a beautiful bird in my back yard, but he ate about a third of my pet goldfish before I saw him. They feed early in the morning when it is still mostly dark.

Here is a picture of the heron sitting on our waterfall. By this time, my hubby had covered up the pond with a floating net made for that purpose. I feel bad that he was hungry, but there’s a lot of lakes in this town with more fish. He does not have to eat my babies.

A magnificent Great Blue Heron who ate my goldfishI was broken hearted because most of my goldfish were born in my fishpond and I have watched them grow up. He even ate Rick. Rick and Ilsa are the parents or grandparents of most of my fish. I still hurt over it.

Anyway, so the write up on this product was that it was a safe place to hide from predators. The ding dong thing was $48.98, including shipping, so I expected it was going to be worth the price and my fish would be protected.

Wrong! The thingy was so flimsy I could not believe it! It was a thin sheet of plastic molded into a tunnel. It had no weight to it at all. If you picked it up it would just wiggle.

In my humble opinion, if a great blue heron saw my fish go in it, he would could just reach his long neck down and lift the “Koi Kastle” up and out of the water entirely.

Naturally, I decided to return it and get my money back. I called and got instructions for returning it. My hubby took it down to the mailing center and they told him that it would cost $39 dollars for shipping! No way!

I got on the phone and told that it was unacceptable that I should have to pay that much to return an unacceptable product. So, they emailed me a UPS mailing label with the shipping price encoded into it.

I just called to check on my order and see if they received it yet. While I was at it, I double checked to make sure that I would not have to pay back the cost of the shipping. I was assured that I would not have to.

So, I am going to be “made whole” as they say on “The People’s Court”. I am going to be exactly back where I started – I won’t be out any money for trying out this flimsy product.

But, this company is going to have to do some very fancy dancing to get me to be a customer in the future…..

Oh, and my hubby and I went to the “Habitat for Humanity” used building supplies store and got some vent pipe for cheap. It’s going to be our new Koi Kastle…

The fishpond still has the netting on it to keep the heron out, but when it warms up and the lilies and parrot’s feather plants start growing the net has to come off. That’s when my sweet hubby will set up my fishies’ new house.

Click Here if you made it this far down.

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I am having mixed feelings about the magnificent Great Blue Heron that’s been visiting our goldfish pond…

November 29, 2009:

Look at this magnificent Great Blue Heron. He is standing just behind the waterfall of the goldfish pond that my hubby built for me:

Edited to add this picture taken after the next one: (photo taken the next day, November 30)

DSC02737_thumb

My hubby, the best hubby in the history of the world, laid on his tummy and took this picture through our doggie door. (Photo taken November 29, 2009)

Great Blue Heron next to our waterfall

This is the most excitement I’ve had in the back yard for a couple of years. Here are two blog entries about similar events:

I am a birdwatcher, and as such I am VERY EXCITED that a magnificent Great Blue Heron has been coming to our pond the last several days. We live in an expansive, yet quiet, housing tract, near a very busy intersection. This is not the usual habitat for Great Blue Herons….

There are many bodies of water in Oklahoma City, yet this heron has chosen our goldfish pond to hang around by lately. It is quite a complement to my hubby’s craftsmanship.

Here is the original, un-cropped, photo, showing more of the waterfall and pond:

Great Blue Heron near pond and waterfall

Besides being a birdwatcher, though, I am a Pet Mom, and as such I am VERY WORRIED about my pet goldfish.

I don’t know if he has eaten any of my pet goldfish yet. Most of them all look alike, and if there was one missing, I would never know. We have more than fifty goldfish, most of them orange, with some white ones and some black ones. The great majority of our goldfish are the descendants of Rick and Ilsa, our two biggest, and oldest, goldfish.

There are very few goldfish with distinguishing marks allowing us to recognize them. (Rocky Raccoon has white patches around his eyes, for instance.)

Great Blue Herons are long legged wading birds. They wade into a body of water until they can look down and see the fish, they they bend their long neck down and grab a fish in their big beak.

With all the times I’ve seen this heron in our backyard, he has never been standing in the water, just next to the pond. In our pond, the first step is a doozy, as the saying goes…

We have a step, about a foot or so down, all the way around, to make it easier to step into the pond for maintenance. The pond is almost three feet deep.

As much as I love seeing this Great Blue Heron, I want him to go to one of the lakes or rivers in town.

I love you, but please go away…..

X

Edited to add:

November 29: It’s very cold today, so the fish are not moving. I went out and counted them, and only see 27 of them. (they are hard to count when they are all swimming) We had almost 50 the last time we caught them all in order to give the pond a thorough cleaning a few years ago. More have been “born” since then, so we knew we have (had) over fifty by now.

I have to accept the fact that some of our fish have been eaten. Some are trying to hide under leaves that blew into the pond and fell to the bottom. I hope there are more fish that are hiding so well that I can’t see them. I can’t even see Rick and Ilsa. They are our biggest fish. Rick is white, so he would be easy to see. I hope Rick and Ilsa are hiding under the leaves.

I’m on the web researching ways to keep Great Blue Herons away from ponds. Apparently it is a big problem for many pond owners. Herons even take big koi which are hundreds of dollars each. Koi have short tails. We like goldfish with long flowing tails, and they are a lot less expensive.

There are many, many very expensive ways to keep away Great Blue Herons, and none of them work, according to pond community message boards I’ve been searching.

We’ve decided that rather than standing at the window in awe that we are going to teach our doggies to chase the herons away. Maybe that will work.

Wish us luck…

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Edited to add December 1:

A big Thank You goes out to everybody for all of the suggestions. I appreciate hearing from fellow animal lovers who understand my feelings.

After further researching the topic on the web, discussing at all the available products and options with my hubby, and visiting our local pond store last night, we decided on Pond Netting. The price is more reasonable than plastic herons and motion detector sprinklers (which won’t work here anyway because the water freezes).

Now, we have a physical barrier between my fish and the herons. Unless the herons figure out how to lift the rocks holding it down, and roll it up, my fish will be alright. It’s not pretty, but having my fish survive is more important. Whew. That was fun, {she said facetiously}.

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Edited to add: Also see this post that has the solution to the problem: That great blue heron is never going to eat my fish again!

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