Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Birds of Wrath!!!!!

One of the challenges of a koi pond is the constant fight with predators.  I have documented ad nauseum about my wars with the local raccoon clan.  But there are other predators for the koi pond owner to be aware of.  One of the local Koi ponds in our neighborhood has a particular problem with herons.  This pond, which has been documented in earlier posts, is a natural style pond with a waterfall, lush plants and overhanging trees.

Apparently the herons fly by, see the pond, and the brightly colored residents and drop down for a closer look.  They then hop into shallow areas of the pond, where they stand motionless until a unsuspecting fish swims by.  The fish is then unceremoniously skewered and quickly eaten. Not at all a neighborly thing to do, especially to beautiful and expensive Japanese koi….  No, No siree, Bob, definitely something to be restricted or avoided altogether…

In the Koi Garden pond, I have solved this problem in a number of ways. My pond has very steep sides.   Heron cannot walk down the sides as they can with a natural pond.  The shape of the Koi Garden pond is very even which also allows for use of a wooden frame with a plastic screen.  It keeps the predators out but allows the sun and water recirculation.  It also has the benefit of keeping any leaves, etc out.

This problem becomes larger with natural or irregularly shaped ponds that don’t lend themselves to ponds screens.  In this type of pond a plastic screen just doesn’t work well, especially if you want to remove the screen for certain occasions, such as cleaning or picture taking.

For ponds where a plastic screen won’t work, other solutions come into play.  One of the most interesting ones I have seen to use hang fishing wire in between adjoining trees.   The herons see the wire and avoid it like the plague.  They have a wide wing span and don’t want to get caught up in the fishing wire.  The fishing wire spans the space between trees over the pond high enough to not affect either access or the view of the pond.  In fact this pond owner has even attached ornamental metal leaves that move in the breeze for a festive look.  These metallic, flashing leaves also threaten the herons. 

Mission accomplished!!!!!

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