How To Keep Birds Away From Fish Ponds (7 Simple Methods)
One big problem with outdoor fish ponds is that they tend to suffer big population losses due to predation. With your pond being outdoors, the same place where there are predators that will eat your fish, you might be searching for ways to protect your pond and its inhabitants.
Birds are the number one problem and the biggest killer of fish in outdoor ponds. Birds need to eat, so we don’t blame them, but it’s a problem that needs to be solved nonetheless. Let’s find out how to keep birds away from our fish ponds.
The 7 Methods to Keep Birds Away From Fish Ponds
1. A Pond Cover / Netting – Our Favorite Method
One of the best solutions to go with to keep birds away from your fish pond is to use some kind of netting (this is a good option). A net is a physical barrier between the pond, your fish, and the birds wanting to eat the fish.
There are special pond covers out there that you can buy, which are made just for this purpose. They tend to be a little bit on the expensive side of things, but you can always make one yourself. You can use some long sticks, preferably a 2 x 4, combined with some plastic netting, such as the netting used for football goals. Alternatively, you can use chicken wire to make the pond cover, but just beware that it will be very stiff. Once you are done making it, just place it over the pond. The downside here is that it takes away from the beauty of the pond, but at least it is a pond full of fish.
Most people only cover their ponds with a net at night as opposed to during the day since it just doesn’t look nice. Covering your pond at night will also help keep other predators like cats, foxes, raccoons, and any other animals from getting to your fish.
If you are really worried about predators, especially bigger ones that might be persistent in their efforts to get your fish, we would go with solid netting like chicken wire.
2. Animal Decoys – Simple But Effective
We think that using animal decoys is one of the best options for keeping birds and other predators away from your fish pond (this decoy is our top pick). This is the same theory as a farmer putting a scarecrow in a field to keep crows and other birds away, or like using a statue of an owl on your balcony to keep pigeons away.
You should do some research on the specific animals or birds that are preying on your fish. Look up what their predators are and then use decoys that will scare them away. A large, predatory bird decoy is a good option to keep away smaller birds. However, it might not work as well to keep the same type of bird at bay.
People have been known to place decoys of wolves, foxes, and all kinds of animals to keep predator birds away from their fish ponds. Heck, even a scarecrow, just like in a farm field, will probably do the trick. Birds don’t like messing with humans, so it should work fairly well.
3. Bird Repellants – Very Effective
There are plenty of bird repellants out there specially designed to keep birds away (these work well).
There are loud noisemakers that scare birds away, often involving some kind of rattling, whistling, squealing, or banging noise. However, these can get a little annoying if you have to listen to them all day long.
You can also go with visual repellants. Yes, technically the animal decoys and scarecrows that we mentioned above count as visual decoys, but this is not what we are talking about here. There are special repellants made for birds that move around and are shiny. It tends to confuse birds and scare them away.
There are also scent repellers that are nothing more than a certain scent, such as a predator’s urine, which will scare the birds away. The repellants that use scent to scare away birds will need to be replaced or reapplied as they wear off, but other than that, the scent repellants seem to be the best option to go with.
4. Bird Feeders
A good way to solve, or at least to mitigate, this problem is to keep the birds well fed. We would recommend setting up at least two bird feeders and watering stations at a distance from the pond. For instance, placing a watering station to the north and south of the pond and a feeding station to the east and west of the pond will lure birds away. They will go eat from the feeders and watering stations instead of from your pond.
Now, this is not a sure-fire solution, and it does depend on the birds in question. Some birds are going to be lured in by the movement of the fish and eat them anyway. Some birds just prefer eating live fish over some grains that you shoved in a box and mounted in the ground. That being said, a bird with a stomach full of seeds is much less likely to go after your fish than a really hungry bird.
5. Hiding Place For Fish
Now, this won’t keep birds away from your pond, but it will give the fish in the pond a chance to survive. You need to have a lot of rocks, plants (we have covered some good options here), wood, and caves in the pond to create hiding places.
Any kind of cover that you can provide your fish with is going to be a big help. Birds might stick around to look for fish, but if they can’t see or find the fish, chances are that they will give up sooner rather than later.
6. A Structure
Most people are not going to want to build a structure around their pond, especially because it sometimes ruins the look of it. After all, the pond is supposed to be outside, so putting a little house around it might not be ideal, but it does work.
It will cost you a pretty penny to do, but if you already have a pond set up, it might be worth the money. A simple wooden structure, preferably with a clear roof and walls, will definitely help.
This final option seems to be one that works well in some cases. Birds tend to be quite fearful of dogs, especially larger ones. So, if you already have a dog or are thinking of getting one, it can make a good guard for your fish pond.
Now, be aware that this can and has backfired on people before. Some dogs couldn’t care less about fish and won’t mess with them, but other dogs might actually hunt the fish. So, before you use your dog as a bird repellant, make sure it won’t eat the fish.
Keeping birds away from a fish pond may seem like a monumental task, but it is definitely doable. Personally, we would recommend using a combination of the above methods. The more obstructions that are put into place, the less likely the birds are to hunt the fish. Whatever can be done to protect your fish pond should be done.
Feature Image Credit: Albert Beukhof, Shutterstock