The use of distress calls to repel night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) from fish ponds

  • Published source details Spanier E. (1980) The use of distress calls to repel night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) from fish ponds. Journal of Applied Ecology, 17, 287-294.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Scare birds from fish farms

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Scare birds from fish farms

    A controlled trial in northern Israel in September and October 1978 (Spanier 1980) found that 88% (1,122 of 1,265) of black-crowned night-herons Nycticorax nycticorax feeding at fishpond were scared off when heron distress calls (both adult and juvenile) were played on 12 observation nights. Over the study period there was no apparent habituation to the distress calls, in contrast to when recordings of a gas gun were used, when herons became habituated after only one night (60% of birds remained at ponds after 12 nights). Distress calls also reduced the number of herons perched in nearby trees by approximately 50% and, despite less than 5% of scared herons leaving the area, the scaring significantly reduced fish losses over the study period.


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