Friday, February 9, 2007

Feral Cat Myths: Cats don't kill enough birds to matter.

That 20 percent adds up to a lot of birds, according to research on free-ranging rural cats by Stanley Temple, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Using telephone surveys and more traditional tools of the wildlife biology trade like radio collars Temple came up with a "most reasonable estimate" that cats annually kill at least 7.8 million birds in Wisconsin alone.
That's a lot of flying feathered objects. In summer, Temple says, about 19 million birds produce 16 million young in Wisconsin, for a total of 35 million birds. If, as he calculates, cats kill about 3.3 million birds in the summer, that accounts for almost 10 percent of the summer population.
Ground-nesting species like meadowlarks -- already under pressure for other reasons -- are particularly vulnerable. But Temple observes that the problem extends beyond birds, since cats are also pressuring rare species like the marsh rabbit of Key West, and more common but harmless mammals like field mice and meadow voles.


Veery said...

There are so many things that reduce bird population. We can control so little and yet the one problem we could almost entirely eliminate continues to be such a large problem. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and KEEP YOUR CAT INSIDE!

Bird Advocate said...

You get a loud AMEN from me on that one, Dear Lady! :-)

Starla said...

The cat fanciers can shrug off the deaths of billions of animals, but let someone lay a hand on one cutesy puddy tat and out come the daggers. It's sickening.

Bird Advocate said...

Yes, some of them are very selective in the species of animals they feel compassion for, which is why we have to be activists for our wildlife's best interests!