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Will my heron decoy still be useful since it’s getting cold out? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Will my heron decoy still be useful since it’s getting cold out?

Q: Will my heron decoy still be useful since it’s getting cold out?

Mary – Berkeley Heights, NJ

A: To prepare for fall’s and winter’s colder temperatures, you’ve pulled out your decorative fountain, positioned your deep water aerators, added your cold-temperature beneficial bacteria and performed all the other pre-season maintenance chores, but what about that heron decoy? Does he need to be put up for the season?

The short answer: no.

Realistic heron decoys, such as Pond Logic® Blue Heron Decoy, are used to dissuade birds from landing in your pond. Heron are territorial by nature, and when they fly by and see that one of their feathered cousins (fake or real) has already claimed the area, they’ll keep going until they find their own pond to fish.

Heron don’t hibernate, and so seasonal climate changes will trigger these colorful, statuesque birds to fly to warmer environments for several months of the year—which is probably why you’re asking about removing the decoy – but it’s still a good idea to keep that decoy in place.

Why? The foods that carnivorous herons love to eat, including fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards, snake and grasshoppers, disappear or become scarce, particularly in areas that freeze or reach chilly temperatures. As a result, these guys must find other ways to scare up some grub. They fly to a new territory (usually south) for a few months where the eating is good and the weather is warm.

In North America, herons’ range spans the entire United States and the southern regions of Canada, so chances are pretty good that you’ll encounter migrating herons passing over your lake or pond—and looking for some tasty sushi to spear. With your lifelike Pond Logic® Blue Heron Decoy in place, you’ll encourage them to move on and not stop to stock up on their trip south.

Pond Talk: How do you keep your blue heron decoy looking cleaned-up and realistic all year long?

Pond Logic® Blue Heron Decoy - Keep Pesky Herons Away

7 Responses

  1. What winter bacteria do I need?
    Have a 14000 gallon pond.


    • Water balance tends to be more stable as pond volume (gallons) increases. If you notice clarity issues and an excessive accumulation of pond muck you will still want to treat with Seasonal Defense. However, continuously running an aeration system adequately sized for your pond should help keep your water balanced and healthy in the winter which will save you a couple months of treatments as it will take a considerably longer downtime to throw the pond out of balance from decreased bacteria counts. I am assuming that the pond also has a skimmer / biological filtration system in place and an ideal fish load. The cleaner your pond is going into winter, the better it will maintain itself over the winter and early spring.

  2. I live just north of Chicago and saw my first blue heron up close and personal while he was standing in my pond just before Thanksgiving 2 years ago. He was bold as brass and would not be deterred until I got within about 6 feet of him, flapping my arms the whole time.

  3. I wonder if decoys do any good at all. I thought mine was working just fine…I moved it around as recommended and wasn’t losing fish. Then one day I looked out to see the real life variety standing next to the statue, as comfortable as he could be admiring my fish. Since then I’ve seen videos of herons walking past decoys on their way into a pond, and learned they are indeed quite social. Maybe decoys draw herons.

    • Depends on the time of year. If it is mating season, your decoy may be attracting mates. Just like with any creature, when heron decoys are used properly they are proven to work in certain scenarios. If given time to investigate however, live herons WILL figure out what you are up to.

  4. What about a decoy for an egret? He does more damage here.

    • They are available and work on the same basis. The problem you encounter with herons and egrets alike is that if they have already established your pond as their territory you can not just place a decoy and try to scare them away..they will challenge this faux intruder and when he realizes it does nothing but stand in place, he will get back to work on your pond. You have to place them after mating season BEFORE a heron or egret claims your pond. They will think it is already taken and will try to find a vacant water body before fighting for an already claimed one.

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