The majestic Great Blue Heron skimmed over Crystal Lake’s surface and perched on a mat of milfoil. I raised my binoculars and studied his slate blue feathers, agile curved neck, and graceful stride. After docking our pontoon, I snapped and tied the canvas cover and heard the raucous cry of the heron. As an avid birder, I considered myself lucky for the stately visitor – until the next morning
Leaving His Mark
Apparently, the heron had been checking out our pontoon while I had been checking him out. The raised pontoon Bimini served as his roost. Herons fish in shallow water often swooping down from a perch and spearing its prey. From the gigantic white splat on the cover, I can attest to this heron’s diet of small fish.
Occasionally, a sparrow might leave his droppings on my car windshield which is annoying. A sparrow is about six inches long and weighs an ounce.
A great blue heron is about fifty inches long and weighs five pounds. A great blue heron leaving HIS droppings on our pontoon cover (with large “splatter” range) is HUGELY annoying. I had a problem.
Solution One: I’ll Crush Ye Barnacles, Matey!
After swabbing the deck and not wanting to do so again, I studied the situation and found an easy one. The night before the “splatting incident” I had tucked our boat in by snapping on the cover and wrapping our pirate flag around the mast.
I unfurled the flag where it flapped across the Bimini in the breeze. Surely the crack of the Jolly Roger would drive him to friendlier waters, and it did – for two days.
Calm winds plus a still flag equaled a confident heron and another “splatting incident.”
Great Blue Heron: 1
Solution Two: Clip His Wings
I scrubbed the pontoon cover clean and hoped to keep it that way. After the failure of the easy solution, I tried an innovative one. The covered Bimini provided a comfortable perch. I would make the Bimini perch uncomfortable.
A string of paperclips attached to a row of fold-back clips on the Bimini created a shiny swinging garland. (Can you tell I hatched this plan in my office?) Then I spaced the fold-back clips close together which allowed little room to alight. (Herons have BIG feet.) At the last minute I threw in spare planter bags.
Shine from the paperclips, motion from the planter bags, obstacle from the fold-back clips. How could it fail?
Only the heron knows for sure, because it did.
Great Blue Heron: 2
Solution Three: Chain Reaction
A mix of Dawn dishwashing soap and lake water cleaned the “splatting incident.” I’d taken to leaving bucket, Dawn, and scrub brush by the door. I may not have been successful in dissuading Harry (We were on a first name basis.), but I was prepared. Although my “paperclip and planter bag” solution failed, I thought my “uncomfortable perch” approach had merit. I just hadn’t made it uncomfortable enough.
While cleaning out the garden shed, I discovered a “rain chain” I purchased years ago. Although it fell short of my expectations for a melodic garden experience, I pressed it into service as a heron deterrent. I wrapped the chunky chain around the Bimini and secured it with bungee cords.
Flashy color from the bungee cords and steely two-inch links would feel like walking on rocks. Success within reach!
. . . or not!
Great Blue Heron: 3
Solution Four: A Not So Wise Owl
A broom dipped into the Dawn/lake water combo avoided the stress on my back. Finished with the easy, innovative, home-grown solutions, I turned to Amazon.
An owl decoy sporting a snarly expression looming on the dock would discourage Harry. Why would he risk an attack, right?
Wrong, maybe if I had flung the $20 statue towards Great Blue it might have put him off for a day or two. From a distance it appeared as if the heron enjoyed Owl’s company.
Great Blue Heron: 4
Solution Five: Not So Itsy Bitsy Spider
I bought the 75-ounce bottle of Dawn Ultra. Proctor and Gamble should include a smirking Great Blue Heron on their label.
Perhaps I needed to think BIGGER. With a bigger-is-better attitude I purchased a “Bird Barrier Daddi Long Legs Spider” from Amazon. The twirling device waved stainless steel arms covering a six-foot expanse. Daddi Long Legs would shoo Harry away. After reading the reviews, (lots of stars, exclamation points, and regrets about not finding it sooner) I anchored Daddi in the middle of the Bimini, ALMOST reaching both ends.
Soon, I would be adding my accolades to the Amazon review!
I’d add another jug of Dawn to my grocery list instead of composing a favorable review.
Another “splatting incident” occurred. However, the location of the splatter indicated a change in behavior. Harry had scooted over to the Bimini’s far end before “letting it loose.” Still, it was . . .
Great Blue Heron: 5
Solution Six: Along Came A Spider
During another broom and Dawn mix cleaning, I devised a plan based upon where the splatter splatted. Harry favored the left side of the Bimini. I’d move “Daddi” on that side. With the preferred location occupied and Harry never having perched on the right side this might be it! I crossed my fingers!
I should have held a horse shoe and a four-leaf clover in the other hand because . . .
Great Blue Heron: 6
Solution Seven: Along Came (Another) Spider
Had Harry been near when I, again, toted my broom and bucket down to the pier, I would have heaved both at him.
The “Daddi” appeared to evict Harry from part of the boat. So it would follow that I needed two “Daddies”- one for each side.
I Bungeed “Daddi 2” to the right side. They waved like threatening aliens in the crisp fall air.
I felt nervous around them. Surely, Harry would, too . . .
and he did.
Great Blue Heron: 6
Perhaps the sixth solution worked, or it could be that warmer weather lured Harry south. I’ll know in the spring. In the meantime, I’ll stock Dawn and buy a new broom.
8 thoughts on “A Wild Goose Chase Of A Great Blue Heron Eviction”
I admire your tenacity to find a solution! Way to go!
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Great Blue Harry’s tenacity is admirable as well . . . though not by me! Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading! Love the heron, not his splatter!
I loved reading about your great (but is he???) blue heron adventure, Anita!
Maybe a “Great Big Pain In The Neck” Heron would be more appropriate! Thanks for reading!
This article had me in stitches!! Anita – you don’t give up! I love your effort and the way you tell your story
Fingers crossed that Harry finds a different perch next spring! Thanks for reading!