Birds can be one of the most difficult things to deal with when it comes to keeping fish in a pond. They might leave bird droppings in the water or foul it by other means. However, the biggest concern with birds around your fish pond is that some birds like to eat fish.
Some birds will make a special trip to your pond every day in the hopes of gulping down a few goldfish or Koi. It’s necessary to keep your pond safe from birds, especially if you live in an area where birds that prey on aquatic animals live, like herons.
The 12 Proven Methods for Keeping Your Fish Safe from Birds
1. Pond Netting
You can purchase netting that is designed specifically for the purpose of keeping your fish safe. Pond netting is great if you are needing to retrofit a pond that is already built because it doesn’t require any changes to the pond itself and blocks birds from entering the pond. Netting can make it difficult to perform routine pond maintenance, though.
2. Fishing Line
Fishing line can be used in a similar fashion to pond netting by using the line to create a grid pattern across the surface of the pond. This functions by preventing entry to the pond by birds. If a bird does manage to make it into the pond, the fishing line will prevent them from being able to walk around the pond to find your fish. At minimum, it gives your fish time to get somewhere safe.
3. Living Presences
Just the presence of something alive hanging around the pond is usually enough to keep birds away. This can be you spending time by the pond a couple of times per day or your dog being in the yard where your pond is located, even if they aren’t there for long. Most birds will prefer to hunt in an area where they feel safe and don’t feel like predators will be lurking. In a busy yard, most birds won’t even bother stopping because the activity and potential for predators scares them.
4. Hiding Places
Caves and crevices are an easy way to ensure your fish can stay safe. Hiding places allow them to escape from birds that may enter the pond. Fishing birds aren’t going to dunk their heads underwater to search in caves in your pond. Birds want to find an easy meal and move on.
5. Increase the Depth
Birds like herons that like to walk around on the bottom of the pond prefer shallow water. If you are building your pond now or have the option to make changes to the pond, then creating more depth will help keep your fish safe by deterring them from even wanting to attempt to hunt in the pond.
Decoys are a great way to make the birds feel like there’s a threat present in your pond. Decoys come in all varieties of objects in all shapes and sizes. You can purchase decoys that look like crocodiles, coyotes, dogs, snakes, or anything else that might deter birds. If you are dealing with smaller birds, then owl decoys can be a great way to keep pests away.
Related Read: 8 Best Heron Deterrents for Ponds – Reviews & Top Picks
7. Live Plants
Live plants create hiding places for your fish and make it more difficult for birds to spot them through the surface of the water. Floating plants, like water lettuce, and plants that create surface coverage, like water lilies, can help break up the view into the pond. Plants under the water will create more hiding places for your fish.
8. Shiny Moving Objects
Have you ever seen those big, metal, pinwheel-type things in people’s yards and gardens? They aren’t just decorative when it comes to ponds. Shiny objects that move will startle birds, and they are often deterred from stopping in the first place by the moving reflections from the object.
9. Startling Sounds and Lights
Like the moving metallic objects, motion activated lights and sounds can startle birds into leaving and may deter them from coming back. You can use just about any type of motion activated light for this task, but one that is made to create sound when activated is the best option.
10. Motion Activated Sprayers
Animal repellent sprinklers are another good way to startle birds into leaving your pond. Many of these sprinklers are smart enough to tell the difference between a bird and an approaching person, which decreases your chance of getting hit by water.
11. Surface Movement
Surface movement from your pond’s filtration system is a great way to keep your fish safe because it makes it more difficult for birds to see below the surface to find the fish. Air stones can be added for extra surface movement in larger ponds. Surface movement also helps aerate your pond and create a healthier environment for your fish.
12. Waterfalls and Fountains
Waterfalls and fountains are a good way to create more surface movement in your pond and significantly decrease the visibility birds have into the water. Fountains and large waterfalls may deter birds simply because they don’t want to be under the water while hunting.
There are multiple great ways to keep your fish safe from birds. Birds can be a real nuisance, but even one of these options can significantly reduce the chance of a bird visiting your pond. Some options are good for retrofitting ponds, while other options are better when you are setting a pond up for the first time. You can combine multiple options, though, to create the perfect deterrent for your pond. You want to find ways that interfere with your enjoyment of the pond the least while still proving a significant deterrent to birds, and the options above are your best chance for success.
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Featured Image Credit: Sue Rae Edmondson, Shutterstock