I can still visualise my auntie’s pond when I used to visit as a child. It was that covered with netting and wire I wondered how they managed to get close enough to feed the fish. It must have been a favourite spot for the local heron.
Herons, despite their beauty, can be an annoyance if you keep fish. In this article I want to offer a bit og general buying advice about how to find a heron scarer that actually works, alongside some reviews from around the web. Let’s dive in.
The short version: best heron scarers/decoys
|Orbit Yard Enforcer||$$$||10/10|
|PetsBye Ultrasonic Repellent||$$||9/10|
What is a heron scarer?
A heron scarer is simply a piece of equipment that keeps herons away from your pond. Herons are a big problem for people who keep fis,h and the traditional remedy of netting or wire doesn’t really work.
There are three main types available:
- Scarecrows – These are basically plastic heron models attached to a spike that are pushed into the ground or pond bottom. Nice ones can look very ornamental. Their effectiveness, however, is debatable. The RSPB actually says that plastic herons can encourage others to visit (prime feeding spot).
- Jet sprays – Probably my favourite, these work by utilizing a motion sensor which triggers a spray of water when activated, thus scaring any birds off.
- Ultrasonic repeller – These work in a similar way to the jet sprays, but instead emit an ultrasonic frequency when movement is detected. The main benefit is that they don’t require any water supply. My experience is that they can be variable. They work better than scarecrows but not as well as jet sprays.
Do you need a scarer?
If you’ve got a pond with fish in it then the answer is probably yes. The trouble with netting is that it’s a hassle to maintain and it can get tangled in herons’ beaks. Investing in a decent deterrent is usually the best bet for protecting your fish and they tend to be low maintenance.
Features to look for in a heron scarer
- Long battery life – Look for at least a few months or thousands of cycles (with a sprayer).
- Adjustable height – Height adjustability is good if you can get it but not essential.
- Adjustable ultrasound settings – Many animal repellents are for cats or dogs, so make sure the sound is adjustable in order to make sure it will act as a heron decoy.
Best heron scarers/decoys: Some picks from around the web
***Full Disclosure – Where appropriate, I’ve linked product images to commercial sites and Amazon (see Amazon Disclosure). If you buy from these sites, I earn a small affiliate fee, which helps me keep Urban Turnip going.***
Orbit Yard Enforcer
If you like the Alien movies then you’ll love this. It’s a really high-quality and well-made decoy. I’ve already said that I think spray scarers are more effective than either ultrasound ones or fake herons, and this tops the list when it comes to motion-sensor sprayers. It’s absolutely chock-full of features and the slightly higher price is more than justified.
It has three options – night, day and always on – which allows you to save on battery life (and water). The sensor has a 120 degree arc too so the area you can cover is very large. The great thing is that it runs on 4 AA batteries (which will give you 7,500 “activation cycles”) and is fully height-adjustable. You can also use it as a normal lawn sprinkler if you want to (seriously).
PestBye Ultrasonic Repellent
The benefit of going down the ultrasonic route is that you don’t have to provide a water supply. You can pop in some batteries and then forget about it. This set of two (so you can locate them strategically around the pond) ultrasonic decoys from PestBye work on the basis of an infrared sensor that triggers a frequency just above the sound of human hearing (there are settings for sensitivity and frequency).
It runs on 4 AA batteries and most reports say that’s good for at least a couple of months. The stake is zinc-coated (so rust-proof) and the whole unit is fully waterproof. It’s not badly priced either.
The ornamental option (if you must)
The effectiveness of ornamental herons is debatable. Some say that work brilliantly while at the other end of the spectrum people say that they attract herons. My personal opinion is that they’re probably better for smaller ponds…and I say that without any experiential or scientific backing whatsoever! Some say that you should use two to deter predator herons.
If you want to give it a try there are a few things to look out for. First, make sure that the stake is long enough to stand the heron in the pond. Second, it should be made entirely from weatherproof materials. Size might be another consideration…the last thing you want to end up with is an ornament for your mantelpiece, so check the specs if buying online.
Let us know your thoughts! Leave a comment below!
What are your thoughts? Have you tried any of the products on this list? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Image credit: Giny.T