We have spent much time and labor in creating a wildlife
sanctuary in our backyard on Old Ivy Road. The overgrown mess of
ivy and sapling trees has been replaced with brick walkways,
ponds, bridges, waterfalls, plantings and seating areas to relax
at and take in nature. Since our project began about 10 years
ago, our landscape has matured nicely and has served as a refuge
for hours of enjoyment.
During the past years we have observed the wildlife of Georgia
and it’s apparent appreciation of our green space. The most
memorable visitor was the two foot diameter snapping turtle that
took up temporary residence in one of our ponds. We drained the
pond, captured the unwanted creature and relocated it to a
nearby Atlanta Buckhead stream.
Frogs have been permanent dwellers since the ponds were built.
Their “screams” alert other amphibians of our approach and
startle us as we walk down the pathways. Their nighttime
serenades keep our backyard alive during the darkest of warm
Snakes help keep nature in check and keep the frog population
under control. We have observed King Snakes eating worms on the
pathways after a summer rain, and our experience with a mature
copperhead snake reminds us that there must be many unseen
hungry offspring slithering around.
Feathered friends are abundant as well. My favorite is the
Pileated Woodpecker. This large colorful woodpecker was an
inspiration to create my first prototype website after hurricane
Opal blew down one of our hickory trees in 1995.
We have fish too. We introduced Koi to the ponds when they were
built. The fish matured, produced offspring and replaced the
older fish that disappeared over the years.
fish, frogs, snakes, turtles and woodpeckers all seem to coexist
together in a tranquil backyard harmony until this past week. We
observed a four foot tall Blue Heron, knee deep in the pond
making a buffet of our prized Koi. Being startled to see such a
large intruder I took a couple of shots at it (with my Canon
camera) and chased it off. Later I saw that it was back for a
second course and shooed it away again. This bird has to go! I
realize that it will not be as easy as removing the snapping
I went to the web looking for some direction. I Googled Blue
Herons and found an article describing how to construct a
chicken wire tent / fence over the pond to protect the Koi from
fish eating birds. I did not find this solution appealing since
chicken wire does not occur naturally in the wild.
Another article I found about Blue Herons and Georgia explained
their habitats, breeding, feeding and that they are NOT
considered an “endangered” or a “protected” species. Well, I
think this particular bird could be “in danger”!
narrowed my search to Blue Herons and Atlanta only to find that
within my neighborhood there is a non-profit organization named
“Blue Heron Preserve” that is located on the Lake Emma Wetlands,
a few blocks away from my home, as explained on the North
Buckhead website. The website stated the Lake Emma Wetlands
would preserve wildlife in its natural environment. Wildlife
observed include two deer, a beaver, an otter family, mink,
Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, fox, turtles, raccoons,
opossums, and of course, the blue heron.
Well, why can’t this non-profit organization keep “their” bird
in “their” preserve? If this keeps up I will make my own
preserves. Twelve Ounce bottles of Old Ivy Blue Heron Preserves!
Chris & James
Old Ivy - Blue Heron Preserves - 12 oz.