Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cat found with arrow in its chest

Animal Control says the cat is going
to survive to be re-abandoned.

My own responses to blogs about it:
You are an animal lover? I am an animal lover, too, and I am wondering how many of our native birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish this feral domestic cat will kill after he is re-abandoned into the wild. Nowhere in this article is this mentioned.

Your "non-lethal methods" are anything but non-lethal to our natural fauna. Do you have any idea how many of our endangered species this cat may have killed?

Uh, re-abandoning a domestic cat into the wild to be abused again, starve, or become roadkill is not abuse?

These "Good ones" are going to re-abandon poor Arrow. What is humane about that?

Are we so low we´re just going to continue permitting people to abandon domestic predator animals into the wild to murder our wildlife?

Those people re-abandon domestic animals! Would you please explain what is humane, moral, or ethical in that?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Preventing Feral Domestic Cat Predation on Birds

That's the name I considered giving this blog. While I think the name we've evolved to is a good one perhaps the former would have been the better?

Forget magpies, it’s cats which massacre our birds

(From Wales Online, let's see how Britain's birds are faring...)
Because it’s now official: We can treat magpies as we treat rats and rabbits: shoot on sight. They are avian terrorists, high on the list of suspects blamed for the dramatic shortage of cuter little birds in our gardens.

They eat those other birds’ eggs, they chomp their chicks. So it’s OK to grab an air rifle and ask if there’s any last request.

But hang on. Magpies kill infinitely fewer sparrows than are killed by cats which, at last count, massacre about 50 million birds and small mammals each year.

So if it’s OK for magpies why aren’t we given 007 status, licence to – what’s that, Madam? Your little Tiddles would never, ever harm one hair, or feather on a sparrow’s head, Maybe so.

Bibliography on cats and feral cats Felix catus

In recent years, largely volunteer groups have tried to control the problem by what they call TNR -- trap, neuter and release. Professional biologists say it hasn't worked.

And so does Dr. Christine Storts. She's the veterinarian who wrote a letter urging the wildlife commission to do its job and stop the cats' slaughter of the state's smaller creatures.

Living two blocks from the beach, Storts became curious when she noticed there were no beach mice. A little checking astounded her.

Brevard County's estimate of free-ranging cats had increased from 100,000 in 1999 to 200,000 in just four years.

She joined committees to deal with the problem by trapping the feral cats, neutering them and then releasing them. But she considered it hopeless.

"I do know that having TNR handle 5,000 cats over the past five years, when there's ten times that many still roaming around, means it isn't working," Storts said.
She wants the agency to control the predators and to stop the amateur trap-neuter and release programs. She would like the cats trapped and adopted, trapped and euthanized or trapped and kept in secure enclosures for the rest of their lives.

Gov't revokes rule limiting species protections

WASHINGTON -Federal agencies again will have to consult with government wildlife experts before taking actions that could have an impact on threatened or endangered species.
The Obama administration said Tuesday it was overturning a rule change made in the final weeks of the Bush presidency.
Officials at the Interior and Commerce departments said they have reimposed the consultation requirement that assured the government's top biologists involved in species protection will have a say in federal action that could harm plants, animals and fish that are at risk of extinction.

Bird Lovers Hope to Keep Cats on a Very Short Leash

Dr. Christine Storts is the vet who treats the strays because she sees what they mean to Ms. May, but she is dead set against maintaining such colonies. She is also dead set against letting house cats roam free.

Dr. Storts wants to see all cats indoors or on leashes all the time, and no feral cat colonies, even if that means trapping and removing strays, many of which will inevitably be killed in shelters. The environmental damage the cats cause and the diseases they can spread are too important to ignore, she said.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Exotic organisms frequently cause environmental crisis.

(Here's a logical quote that applies perfectly to our times.)

"Exotic organisms frequently cause environmental crisis.
In such crisis, calls for more research are commonplace,
but research results may be an unaffordable luxury, pro-
viding information only for the eulogy"
Bruce Coblentz Oregon State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (1990)

The State of the Birds- Invasive & Problem Species

Invasive species are those that spread uncontrollably after being introduced to an area where they are not native. Invasive plants and animals are major threats to native bird species in numerous ways.

Nonnative predators have the greatest single impact by killing adult birds as well as eggs and young. Domestic and feral cats kill hundreds of millions of birds each year. Island nesting birds, particularly seabirds, are very vulnerable since they mostly nest on the ground or in burrows and are easily captured by rats, foxes, cats, dogs, and mongooses.

Cats, Birds, and Ascension Island

A must read about a successful eradication of feral cats project written by Rosemary Drisdelle.

The Hawaiian crow is now extinct in the wild

The Hawaiian crow is now extinct in the wild, only 60 alala exist in the world, and their habitat will not support their reintroduction. Feral cats, hogs, and cattle destroyed them and still there are feral cat colonies on those islands! They are supported and maintained by people professing to be "animal lovers" who say they will not choose one species lives over another!
Birders, ecologists, and nature lovers, it is time for us to make a responsible and adult choice for them!

Monday, April 27, 2009

$14M effort announced to save rare bird

A major effort to save the critically endangered Hawaiian crow, one of the rarest forest birds in the world, was announced Friday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"The fact that the species is extinct in the wild means that its former habitat is no longer able to support the population for whatever reason," said biologist Jeff Burgett, who is charged with the recovery for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "Unless we change it in ways that are better for the bird, it has no suitable habitat."

Their habitat has been affected by the introduction of nonnative predators and threats such as feral cats, pigs, mongoose and cattle, which can destroy the vegetation of the forest and spread disease.

Abandoning cats into the wild is irresponsible!

There is no niche anywhere in nature for a domestic cat. They belong in people's homes, as poodles do. Abandoning them is inhumane and causes them to suffer while killing our wildlife. Do the adult and responsible thing and euthanize them!

On the Lookout for FIV

(Keep your cats indoors!)
Is your cat a hot-tempered, unneutered male who spends a lot of time outdoors and seems to like nothing more than scrapping with the other guys in the neighborhood? If so, he's at especially high risk for infection with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a submicroscopic, parasitic organism that can weaken his immune system and, in time, make him vulnerable to a host of opportunistic diseases.

Deep bite wounds, notes Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, are, by far, the primary mode of the virus's transmission from an infected to an uninfected animal. And pugnacious free-roaming males are more likely, by far, than other felines to bite them.

Feeding feral cats is cruel

I have been following recent newspaper articles and letters to the editor about feral cat colonies with some dismay. These discussions seem mostly limited to issues of the feral cats' individual welfare and "humane" treatment, while not sufficiently considering the whole picture — which includes human health and native wildlife conservation.

Although Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) advocates and feral cat colony maintainers have admirable sympathies for fellow creatures (feral cats), I wonder where their sympathy is for the vast number of native creatures that non-native feral cats kill or maim? Where is their sympathy for the children who are at risk of contracting injury, diseases or parasites from roaming feral cats?

In order to return the debate to its proper scope, I offer the following facts. It is virtually impossible to annually capture and vaccinate all members of significant feral cat colonies. This is because after the first time or two they are captured, feral cats tend to avoid traps. It is also due to other causes — including the roaming tendencies of tomcats, as well as the difficulty of capturing some wary individuals even for the first time. For similar reasons, it is also very difficult to capture and spay/neuter 100 percent of the feral cats at any given colony, especially before they reproduce. Feral cat colonies pose human health risks. They are what epidemiologists call "disease reservoirs" — the colonies harbor diseases in unvaccinated members over the long term. Members of feral cat colonies spread diseases and parasites via bites, scratches, and fecal contamination (of beach sand, children's sandboxes, vegetable gardens, and flower beds to name a few vectors). Such diseases and parasites include rabies, toxoplasmosis, roundworm, hookworm, and others. Feral cats also harbor and spread fleas and ticks.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Feral cats are NOT wildlife in need of support

(reprinted from Crossing Paths newsletter, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Wild birds and free-ranging cats are not a good mix. As a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary manager, you most likely keep your cat confined and talk to cat-owning neighbors about doing the same. But what about homeless cats? “Feral” cats, which are usually strays that are untamed or wild, are estimated to range from 60 to 100 million throughout the United States. They are NOT wildlife. Feral cats are non-native predators that can, and have, seriously damaged wild bird and other wildlife populations.
While domestic cats are solitary animals, colonies of feral cats often form around food sources like bird feeding stations, garbage dumps, or places where people deliberately leave food for them. In fact, many colonies of feral cats are supported by well-meaning, but misinformed, advocates of what’s become known as “TNR” management: Trap, Neuter, Release. This wrong solution to a tragic problem works this way: Feral cats are trapped and taken to a clinic or veterinarian for disease testing. Those that are seriously ill or test positive for contagious diseases are usually euthanized, otherwise they are simply spayed or neutered. Then the feral cats are released back to where they were trapped and where they are supplied with food and water daily.
The theory behind TNR programs, which are funded by both private and public entities across the country, is eventual reduction of feral cat colonies. But sadly, such claims are not substantiated. Cat colonies often serve as dumping grounds for other unwanted cats. The food provided usually attracts more cats. Contrary to TNR proponent beliefs, colony cats do NOT keep other cats from joining the colony. As time goes on, some colony cats become too wary to be caught, so rarely are all spayed or neutered.
With females capable of producing up to three litters of four to six kittens each every year, it doesn’t take long to grow a feral cat colony. Well-fed cats, either feral or domestic, are “super-predators” of birds and other wildlife. The need to eat and the instinct to hunt can and do function separately. Any cat owner can attest to this fact with stories of “gift birds” laid at their feet by feline companions.
There is extensive documentation that free-roaming cats are prolific and efficient predators, even if, and especially when, they are regularly fed. Almost one-fifth of all injured wildlife brought to Washington’s wildlife rehabilitators across the state was harmed by cats.

Trap, neuter Release Guru admits results don't work quickly?

Assuming this is really a quote from Dr. Julie Levy my question is how many hundreds of thousands or millions of our native birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish have the re-abandoned feral domestic cats of Operation Catnip disemboweled and devoured while their members cooed over the cute little fuzzie wuzzies they'd (humanely) saved? Edited, I would LOVE to see quotes of this admission appear all over the Internet(s).The quote is also in National Geographic.

'In a study conducted by Levy over an 11-year period, she found the cats lived an average of 7 years after being spayed and brought back to their territory.

" It's become a double-edged sword, because we're happy for the cats that they're living life and in good health," Levy said. " But it also means that we can't expect our neuter programs to work really quickly."'

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another cat enabler's Myth! "Cat-bird predator-prey relationship part of nature"

Another Repost!
I just encountered this old myth again on another blog. My answer?
Nothing is natural about an alien introduced pest preying on native species! Here's a bit of wisdom in a poem written many long years ago. It applies exactly to our problem with feral cats in our ecology today.

A cat
She had a name among the children;
But no one loved though someone owned
Her, locked her out of doors at bedtime
And had her kittens duly drowned.
In Spring, nevertheless, this cat
Ate blackbirds, thrushes, nightingales,
And birds of bright voice and plume and flight,
As well as scraps from neighbours’ pails.
I loathed and hated her for this;
One speckle on a thrush’s breast
Was worth a million such; and yet
She lived long, till God gave her rest.
Edward Thomas
Born 1878, killed in the battle of Arras- Easter Monday, 9 April 1917

Laura's Birding Blog "Cape May Feral Cat Colony"

Laura Erickson makes one of the most logical and impassioned arguments against the "Cape May Feral Cat Colony" I've yet seen. Please read it!

I added a quote and a comment there,
"An organization that neuters, vaccinates, and releases cats flourishes in Cape May"

The only way we will ever defeat them is to organize too!

The Portsmouth Naval Dockyard Feral Cat Study

(I studied the results of this research for years and have only recently refound it.)

Way back in 1975, I started a PhD research project on the feral cats that lived in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard (on the south coast of England, UK).
This site provides some information about my study.
You may have seen the dockyard cats in a short section about my research in the BBC World About Us programme, "The Curious Cat", which has been repeated a number of times over the years. (That programme was mainly about the rural cat study supervised by Dr David Macdonald.)
AN APOLOGY: This website was formerly hosted using AOL's free webspace. Sadly, AOL decided to withdraw this service as from 30.10.08, and delete all files, without issuing email notification to subscribers. This meant that I was unable to set up a redirection from the old site before it disappeared, so apologies if you looked for it and had trouble finding it here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Toxoplasmosis caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii

(Here's one of the diseases cats can expose you and your family to.)
Toxoplasmosis is a disease of humans and animals caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The biology of T. gondii is complicated, but it is important to know that the life cycle of the parasite begins with felids (cats, both wild and domestic).

Only felids can shed the infective form (oocyst) of the parasite in their fecal material. Humans and other types of animals become infected when inadvertently ingesting this infective oocyst through contact with cat fecal material. In the case of humans this contact might be intiated by cleaning cat litter boxes, gardening where cats defecate or playing in a sandbox in which a cat has defecated.
Toxoplasmosis causes a variety of disease syndromes in humans, ranging from flu-like symptoms in immunocompetant adults, to severe disseminated disease in immunosuppressed individuals, to birth defects in infants when women are exposed during pregnancy. Knowledge of the parasite and its life cycle is important to individuals with potential exposure to the many species affected by this organism.

Feral cats to be removed from California island

Wildlife officials will remove as many as 200 feral cats that prey on seabirds and other critters on San Nicolas Island.
The project is expected to take as long as two years. It will involve using live traps, padded leg traps and tracking dogs to catch the non-native cats.
Jane Hendron, a spokeswoman for U.S. Fish & Wildlife office in Carlsbad, says healthy cats could go up for adoption, but those deemed sick will be euthanized.
Feral cats on the Navy-controlled island off the Southern California coast peaked in the 1950s. They descended from domestic cats that escaped from their owners or were brought in to hunt mice.

Why don't more cat owners value their pet and keep them indoors?

Why don't more cat owners value their pet and keep them indoors?
Whatever happened to the days when dumping a domestic animal into the wild was considered inhumane, unethical, immoral, and just plain cruel?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I posted this at BIRDS ETCETERA

Wouldn't you know it? In the early 1980's I witnessed a scene that has since haunted my sleep, as if PTSD weren't enough to deter me from sleeping.
I lived in a small community in the Big Thicket of East Texas, and watched as one of my step-daughters boyfriends delivered her home from school. He reached behind the seat of his truck, and pulled out a rifle.
I didn't see any obvious targets, but wasn't yet worried as the young man usually had good sense. He aimed across the street and shot, and I saw the distinctive shapes and colors of a large woodpecker fall from a tall tree. I shouted "Now we know what you're having for supper! The rest of us are having steaks." After the butt chewing I gave him he apologized and swore never to kill anything he wasn't planning to eat, but I'm sure the question that lingers in my mind is obvious to all of you.

Bird Treatment and Learning Center

(Go by and visit these fine folks, and donate if you can. They're doing a wonderful job!)

With your support...
... "We will continue to provide primary medical care and rehabilitation for sick, injured, or orphaned wild birds; and to provide environmental education for the public through live wild bird programs."

Cat enablers and their "Circle of Life"

Their "Circle of life" does not apply to feral domestic cats that have been released here and are supported by humans. This unfair advantage is given to no other destructive alien pest. Every field mouse killed by a cat means one less meal owlets or hawk young who were put here by God/nature could have used for survival.

Study: Cat Parasite Affects Human Culture

A parasitic microbe commonly found in cats might have helped shape entire human cultures by manipulating the personalities of infected individuals, according to a new study.

Infection by a Toxoplasma gondii could make some individuals more prone to some forms of neuroticism and could lead to differences among cultures if enough people are infected, says Kevin Lafferty, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In a survey of different countries, Lafferty found that people living in those with higher rates of T. gondii infection scored higher on average for neuroticism, defined as an emotional or mental disorder characterized by high levels of anxiety, insecurity or depression.

His finding is detailed in the Aug. 2 issue of the journal for Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology.

Cats More Lethal to Birds Than Wind Turbines

Are wind turbines benign carbon-free power sources or avian death traps that blight the landscape? New numbers have been tossed into the fray, yet we're no closer to achieving common ground. (No surprise there.)

It takes 30-plus turbines to reach a kill rate of one bird per year, according to a recent report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on the environmental impacts of wind-energy projects, based on 14 studies they felt superlative. A number of caveats were attached to the figure, however, including the acknowledgment that rates can vary by site and that endangered species such as the bald eagle are particularly worth avoiding.

However you look at it, though, birds in the United States seem to die in turbine blades at a rate no higher than 40,000 a year. Deaths by dastardly domestic felines, on the other hand, number in the "hundreds of millions."

Feral Cat Enablers speak of "Compassionate Ethics"

The feral cat enablers speak often of "Compassionate Ethics." Would someone please explain to me what is compassionate or ethical about abandoning a domestic animal into the wild to die while killing our wildlife and unfairly competing against our own predators?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Invasive vs. Native Bird Species

Cornell’s Birdhouse Network Seeks Bird Enthusiasts to Help Monitor the Impact of Invasive Bird Species

In the mid-1800s, little brown birds called House Sparrows were introduced into the United States from Europe to alleviate homesickness for the Old World and because they were believed to control insect pests. Since then, these adaptable birds have made themselves quite comfortable here-spreading their wings across all of North America in vast numbers. Their surging populations have resulted in fierce competition with native birds for nesting sites.

According to 2003 data collected by The Birdhouse Network (TBN), a citizen-science project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, House Sparrows account for 43 percent of all competitor species (species that take over nest boxes intended for native birds). And although most nest-box enthusiasts discourage nesting by House Sparrows, the birds still comprise 10 percent of all reported nesting attempts when at least one egg is laid.

Dr. Julie Levy supports TNR...

Dr. Julie Levy or someone claiming to be she, categorically denies my accusations, except for admitting she is a cat freak and supports TNR. I will go on record as having apologized for my rash statements, except for her being a cat freak and about the effectiveness of TNR, which seems to have left us with a deficit of billions of native birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Here is my original (and rash) statement.

Dr. Julie Levy is a cat freak, as well as being on retainer from some of the cat enabler organizations and makes millions selling books to them. Can you say bias and conflict of interest? She has yet to explain how TNR and perpetuating cat colonies stops the killing of our endangered birds and other fauna. An extensive euthanasia project would end the suffering on both sides, rather than perpetuating it. I'd certainly donate generously to it.

What are Invasive Species?

(I will argue with this in that a number of studies I have seen say the Norway rat and house mouse will prevail against the domestic cat while it decimates the native species.)

It may come as a surprise to many that certain animals, such as the domestic cat, are considered to be invasive species. The domestic cat, native to northeast Africa, was introduced from Egypt to countries worldwide thousands of years ago. Although it is often a much loved house pet, the domestic cat is also an avid hunter that is very detrimental to native wildlife.

The domestic cat is an invasive species so common that it inhabits all but a few islands worldwide. The domestic cat was first introduced to non-native areas of the world to control rodent populations. To this day, the cat is still beneficial in keeping other invasive species under control, as well as an important companion for many people. However, the domestic cat is capable of spreading disease to wildlife and humans, and it is responsible for the extinction of many species of birds, which is why it is now considered an invasive species.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What do you say, Birders, Ecologists, and property owners?

Where should we draw the line on "compromising" with the TNR crowd? I personally will never agree feral and roaming domestic cats should be free to predate on our wildlife, and intrude on our property while being subsidized by their enablers, and competing unfairly with our natural predators. I am interested in other viewpoints, however.

What's with the name change?

Hmm, I thought I'd give this a try for the next few days and see how the search engines react. It could be interesting. I am open to any and all suggestions from everyone except for the cat enablers who are convinced millions of feral cats should be loose in our environment killing our wildlife. That I will never accept!

More Feral Cat Information

Whatever happened to the days when dumping a domestic animal into the wild was considered inhumane, unethical, immoral, and just plain cruel? I do wish at least one TNR advocate had been with me the last time I cut fan belts in my truck engine to unwind a cat. I took the day off and drove the poor thing to a vet (in my car) but there was no way to save it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My responses to a cat enabler's rhetoric.

The cat crap and urine caused me to stop gardening. I can't bird watch in my yard now. The cats killed the nesting birds on my property.

Cats were part of the natural order of things in Africa 5000 years ago before they were domesticated. They are as much a true wild cat now as poodles are wolves. Without cats, the hawks, owls, snakes, and other natural predators would control rodents, as they always have. As it is now our natural predators are facing unnatural competition from the cats, who are subsidized by people.

Documentary on controversy over killing feral cats to air Saturday

Four years later, the controversy over whether Wisconsin should allow the killing of feral cats has come to television.

Madison filmmaker Andy Beversdorf’s documentary on the fracas, "Here, Kitty Kitty," hits the airwaves Saturday night on Wisconsin Public Television.

"It was a big fight between the bird people and the cat people that produced a lot of characters who were very passionate about the whole thing, so it made for good cinema," said Beversdorf, 35.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Condolences to a friend on the loss of his nesting birds.

I am so very sorry to hear you've lost your beloved birds to the neighbor's "pet." It is infuriating, I know. When I found the wings and feathers on my porch of a Mockingbird I'd watch nest for years this old combat veteran damned near cried. It's so very sad they didn't respect your property rights and keep their own "precious" pet indoors!

Feral Cats on Quantico

This Marine Base has a realistic outlook on Feral cats!

The Quantico Marine Corps Base Provost Marshal’s Office estimates that there could be up to 180 feral cats on the Marine installation.
And that has officials there stressing that it is not okay to provide the cats with food and water.
“Base personnel are not permitted to feed feral cats,” said Quantico spokesman 1st Lt. Patrick Boyce. “They are encouraged to not keep trash or pet food outside that could attract animals. It is advisable to spay or neuter base pets.”
Boyce said that the installation’s policy concerning feral cats is not unique to Marine Corps Base Quantico and is the same as most civilian towns and municipalities.
“It is presumed that the feral cats aboard base are, or are the offspring of, privately-owned pets that have been released or abandoned by either base personnel or originate from either Quantico Town or the surrounding communities,” he said.
Free roaming feral cats can also have an adverse impact on the natural ecosystems on base, Boyce said.
“Their predation on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds is particularly degrading to the overall environmental health of the base,” he noted. “Furthermore, unvaccinated stray cats may pose a health hazard to base personnel and pets.”

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cats and Wildlife... A Conservation Dilemma

Don't feed stray cats. Feeding strays maintains high densities of cats that kill and compete with native wildlife populations. Cat colonies will form around sources of food and grow to the limits of the food supply. Colonies can grow to include dozens of animals [21]. Maintenance of colonies of free-ranging or feral cats through supplemental feeding benefits no one. The cats suffer because of disease and physical injury; native wildlife suffers from predation and competition, and colonies can be a source of disease for animals and humans. Those concerned with the welfare of animals can improve the lives of the many native species that suffer from lack of food and shelter by protecting and improving the habitats they require [25].

Flying Mouse-traps Clean Up Fields

Barn Owls Tyto alba and Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus are being encouraged by farmers in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to control agricultural pests instead of using harmful chemicals. “The two species provide round-the-clock predation of mice, rats and voles and have been used throughout history as natural pest controllers”, said Dr Yossi Leshem - Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI; BirdLife in Israel). “A pair of Barn Owls alone can eat over 2,000 rodents in a year!”
“Israel is very important for birds of prey - raptors living here year-round are joined by migrants which soar through on thermals in the spring, and birds which stay the winter”, noted Yossi. Sadly, in 1997 large numbers of raptors were accidentally poisoned in Israel’s Bet-She’an and Hulas Valleys after eating prey which contained harmful levels of pesticides.
“We needed an alternative to using chemicals, and knew that Barn Owls and Common Kestrels - two of the most abundant raptors living in Israel - have been used as agricultural pest controllers around the world”. However, modern development has reduced the number of suitable nest sites available in barns, attics and deserted buildings. “This was easily remedied by proving next boxes which were eagerly inhabited by the birds”, said Dr Leshem.

North American Birds Moving North As A Result Of Climate Change

A new study in Conservation Biology analyzed the breeding ranges of North American birds over a 26-year period. The results show that the ranges have shifted northward; coinciding with a period of increasing global temperatures. These results were similar to those found in studies conducted in Great Britain, showing the worldwide extent of these distributional changes.
“It is difficult to predict when or if the forces behind the distributional shifts of birds we report here may lead to extinctions of local populations,” says Hitch. "Birds are extremely mobile which allows them to move in response to climate change; however, prey that birds rely on for survival may not be able to adapt so easily."

Ten Reasons to Go Birding

Go join in the fun at BIRDS ETCETERA!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cats Indoors! The Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats

The Problem

There are more than 90 million pet cats in the U.S., the majority of which roam outside at least part of the time. In addition, millions of stray and feral cats roam our cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Scientists estimate that free-roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year. Cat predation is an added stress to wildlife populations already struggling to survive habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, and other human impacts (see: Domestic Cat Predation On Birds And Other Wildlife). Free-roaming cats are also exposed to injury, disease, parasites, getting hit by cars, or becoming lost, stolen, or poisoned. Millions of domestic cats are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes for them. Cats can also transmit diseases and parasites such as rabies, cat-scratch fever, and toxoplasmosis to other cats, wildlife or people (see: The Great Outdoors Is No Place For Cats).

Saving wildlife by killing it

The Anacapa effort is just one of a growing number of attempts to roll back the invasion of various types of mammals on the islands of the world: rats, this time from Campbell Island near New Zealand, as well as 160,000 goats from Isabella Island in the Galapagos through 2006, to name just a few. There have been 160 "eradications" of pigs, goats or sheep, 75 of feral cats, and 332 of rats and other rodents, according to Josh Donlan, director of Advanced Conservation Strategies, which carries out such efforts. "People usually start to get uncomfortable here," Donlan says. "This is pretty aggressive conservation." It started with ornithologist Ken Stager's visit to Clipperton Island in the Pacific in the late 1950s. He found a community of 55 feral pigs where he had hoped to find nesting grounds of masked and brown boobies. "Luckily, Ken Stager had a shotgun with him," Donlan says. He killed all the pigs and, by 2003, 150 masked boobies had grown to 112,000. "Today it's the largest and most important boobie nesting site in the Pacific.

How can you help get cats out of our ecology?

How can you help get cats out of our ecology? Write Congress and tell them, then tell your mayor and city council to enforce and strengthen our laws protecting our wildlife! Activism, my friend. That's the answer. Links to this blog are appreciated and reciprocated, too.
Here are your contacts for the United States House of Representatives
and United States Senate. Please write them.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cats vs. endangered birds

(My response to an article)
Where are those people's priorities in Cape May? Those "cute, cuddly killing machines" wiping out our endangered shore birds are not even a product of nature! Being feral domestic cats they have as much business being loose on those beaches and sand dunes as a poodle or pitbull, their canine equivalent. The TNR groups deserting them into the wild is inhumane, immoral, and unethical.
Those responsible should be charged with endangering a federally protected species, including the politicians who caved into pressure from the cat enablers!

Will Feral Cats Silence Spring in Your Town?

(A superbly written and documented article)

Will Feral Cats Silence Spring in Your Town?
Pamela Jo Hatley
May 2004

The Nature Blog Network

We were accepted into the Nature Blog Network, a network of over 800 nature blogs. I've found it an excellent place to lose myself for a few hours of interesting and informative reading. Please do visit.

Rabbit survey sparks predator debate anew

During the three-meeting series, attendees pounded out some compromises to the existing refuge policy which called for trapping and relocating feral cats, considered the number one threat to the existence of the marsh rabbit, and also resulted in some euthanization of feral raccoons caught in the trapping.

My response awaiting moderation:
Everyone involved should get their priorities in order. The cat organizations show their true colors as cat lovers instead of animal lovers by complicating the removal of cats. It is springtime and litters of rabbits that might ensure the survival of their species are being killed by feral domestic animals that have no place in our ecology. If they were pit bulls they would already have been removed and put to death.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Cat Lovers are in Denial!

"I will not choose one creature over the other....Cats deserve a lifetime the same way you do"

You have chosen one animal over another! Cats Kill Over 1 Billion Birds Each Year in the U.S.! There is nothing moral, ethical, or humane in abandoning a domestic animal into the wild to suffer and kill!

Efforts produce more nesting turtles

A surge in new nesting Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles over the past several years may be evidence that a 20-year-old protection effort is finally producing new baby turtles.

An intensive program has been under way since 1989 to protect the nests of the endangered turtles on more than a dozen remote Big Island beaches.

The local population of the species was seriously in need of help, said Larry Katahira, a Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park resource management specialist who ran the program until retiring three years ago. Katahira said fishermen who frequented the coast told him that prior to the program's start, very few hatchlings made it to the ocean.

Several dozen volunteers now spend several months each year working to improve those chances. From June to December, a crew of mostly college students treks along the Puna and Ka'u coasts. Camping at known nesting beaches, they trap and kill mongooses, rats and feral cats that prey on the hatchlings as they leave the nest.



Ocelots may experience risks while using corri-
dors in the highly developed LRGV. Occasionally,
we found coyotes (Canis latrans), feral dogs and
feral cats in corridors used by ocelots. We suspect
that coyotes and feral dogs are antagonistic to oc-
elots. Feral cats served as host to fatal diseases



Blood samples were analyzed from 30 domestic cats (Felis domesticus) from the Petén region of Guatemala to determine the seroprevalence of common pathogens that may pose a potential risk to native wild felids. Eight of the cats had been vaccinated previously; however, owners were unable to fully describe the type of vaccine and date of administration. In addition, blood samples were obtained from two captive margays (Leopardus wiedii). Samples were tested for antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus, Dirofilaria immitis, feline panleukopenia virus, feline herpesvirus, feline coronavirus, canine distemper virus, and Toxoplasma gondii and for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigen. Fifty percent or more of the cats sampled were seropositive for feline herpesvirus (22 of 30), feline panleukopenia (15 of 30), and T. gondii (16 of 30). Five cats were positive for FeLV antigen. Both margays were seropositive for feline coronavirus and one was strongly seropositive to T. gondii. All animals were seronegative for D. immitis. This survey provides preliminary information about feline diseases endemic to the Petén region.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Birdchaser: Cats Kill Over 1 Billion Birds Each Year in U.S.

The Birdchaser: Cats Kill Over 1 Billion Birds Each Year in U.S.: "Cats Kill Over 1 Billion Birds Each Year in U.S."

Are you an advocate for birds?

This is an article of ours at The Fat Birders.

We are advocates for our natural fauna, especially our birds. We have become increasingly concerned as we see species around us diminish and vanish. There are some things that we have no control over, while we can influence others with our voices and our votes.

Feral and roaming cats are a major factor in the destruction of the United States’ ecology. They've now been spread by humans to most areas of the Earth, where animals evolved with escape mechanisms against their own natural predators, but have few defences against the domestic cat.

Those cats also compete unfairly with the natural predators and displace them because of well meaning cat helpers who subsidize them. Most ecologists and biologists agree feral and roaming cats are second only to habitat loss in destroying our native birds and wildlife.

The ‘trap, neuter, return programs’ have been practiced for years by the cat lovers, yet the numbers of cats in the wild have increased, whilst native bird numbers have decreased. We have a different name for the practice, we call it ‘trap, neuter, abandon’. Moreover, there are a number of federal and state laws against this practice, which are not being enforced. We say, and many others agree, the cat enabler's ineffective efforts actually hamper our professional animal control experts, while subsidizing and strengthening the feral cats that get away and multiply.

Some bird advocates I've met in the last few years do as we do and trap the cats and take them to the humane society or animal control. Many of those cats will be humanely euthanized. Remember, it's a more humane death than billions of our birds suffer from cats each year!

Our trapping does help, but it's not the answer that will save our birds from the tens of millions of these feral pests. That will take lobbyists in Washington influencing Congress to enforce our wildlife laws and to legislate stronger ones. All of that takes organization. Audubon does a great job with their ‘Cats Indoors’ campaigns, and several other groups do a fine job. Some groups have adjusted their agenda to approve trap, neuter & abandon in order to avoid excluding some hard line cat fanciers who are also members of their groups. When they do this they are adding to the problem not helping with the solution.

The only permanent solution for our distressing dilemma is to take strong measures and stop, cease, and desist from perpetuating this problem! We must take the millions of feral cats out of our eco-systems; through stricter enforcement of our present wildlife protection laws and by legislating tougher ones against the feral pests and those who abet them.

This will in the long run decrease the suffering of both our wildlife and the cats who do not belong there. Are there any bird advocates out there who agree, and are willing to voice their opinions and take action?

Senate Bill Introduced to Conserve Rapidly Disappearing Migratory Birds

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, has introduced bipartisan legislation to boost funding for the conservation of migratory birds. Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT).

“Maryland’s natural treasure, our environment, is a lure for millions of human tourists and avian visitors each year. For nearly a decade, federal investment in habitat protection, education, research and monitoring of neotropical migratory birds has been vital to the well-being of our ecosystem and our economy,” said Senator Cardin.

The Senate bill, S. 690, reauthorizes the existing Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), but at significantly higher levels, to meet the growing needs of our migrants, many of which are in rapid decline. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) plans to introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives. The legislation was introduced following the release of U.S. State of the Birds, the most comprehensive assessment to date on the status of bird populations. The report found that over 250 American bird species are in decline or facing severe threats.

Al Martinez ... On Everything Else

More at the site above. An amusing lie, uh, tale.

Ernie, The Cat

I feel sorry for Ernie, our cat. He sits at a glass door looking out longingly at the birds and the squirrels that flash playfully into view. I think he wants to eat them. Kibbles and an occasional indoor mouse just aren't enough.

He meows pathetically and cocks his head to one side and licks his lips. I don't let him out for a very good reason: he's a house cat and there are perils out there to which he is not accustomed; coyotes, dogs, rattlesnakes and owls.

Yes, owls. Stories abound in Topanga of large birds of prey carrying off cats and even small dogs. One woman tells of an owl swooping off with her little Portia. That's her Pekingese, not her granddaughter. She ran down the street in the direction of the bird, screaming and swearing. The terrified owl dropped Portia on the road.

Piping plovers welcome at one Cape May Point beach

Commissioner Joe Nietubicz said it’s one of the windiest beaches here. It actually fronts the Delaware Bay more than the ocean, although that can vary with the tide. It gets hit with strong winds crossing the bay.

“Birds aren’t going to nest on these beaches because of the wind. They haven’t yet and they probably never will. It fills our requirement and it’s as painless as it can get,” Nietubicz said.

Feral cats to be eliminated from island

The cats have taken a large toll on other animals, officials said. The non-native cats are preying on shorebirds and seabirds on the Navy-owned island, as well other endangered species.
Last year, federal wildlife biologists wrote a proposal to kill all wild cats living on the island. Opposition from animal rights groups was included in a public review, which brought comments from about 5,000 to 7,000 people from around the country denouncing the plan. Some, like the Humane Society, offered alternatives to killing the cats.

Saturday is Firefly Day!

Visit Bug Girl’s Blog and help her in Firefly Watch!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cats and Wildlife... A Conservation Dilemma

(Another Myth: Cats almost never kill Birds)

Although rural free-ranging cats have greater access to wild animals and undoubtedly take the greatest toll, even urban house pets take live prey when allowed outside. Extensive studies of the feeding habits of free-ranging domestic cats over 50 years and four continents [6] indicate that small mammals make up approximately 70% of these cats' prey while birds make up about 20%. The remaining 10% is a variety of other animals. The diets of free-ranging cat populations, however, reflect the food locally available.

The "Vacuum Myth" Cat Enablers swear by.

The feral and roaming cat enablers are like some politicians. They repeat their myths often enough and some gullible people begin to accept them.
Take the myth about if you euthanize a feral cat bird killing machine "another one just like it" will move in. I learned basic arithmetic in the first grade, and it seems to me that as you take away each feral cat you leave a vacuum in our ecosystem our natural birds and predators can retake and thrive in!
Can you picture this scenario? Three muggers are beating up a TNR colony manager. A policeman comes along and asks "Would you like me to arrest a couple of these guys?" "Oh no," comes the reply, "It would only create a vacuum and more would join in."

Report Reveals One-Third of US Birds are Endangered

Videos and informative graphs at Dr. GrrlScientist's "Living the Scientific Life"

Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap–Neuter–Return

Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap–Neuter–Return

Abstract: Many jurisdictions have adopted programs to manage feral cats by trap–neuter–return (TNR), in which cats are trapped and sterilized, then returned to the environment to be fed and cared for by volunteer caretakers. Most conservation biologists probably do not realize the extent and growth of this practice and that the goal of some leading TNR advocates is that cats ultimately be recognized and treated as "protected wildlife." We compared the arguments put forth in support of TNR by many feral cat advocates with the scientific literature. Advocates promoting TNR often claim that feral cats harm wildlife only on islands and not on continents; fill a natural or realized niche; do not contribute to the decline of native species; and are insignificant vectors or reservoirs of disease. Advocates also frequently make claims about the effectiveness of TNR, including claims that colonies of feral cats are eventually eliminated by TNR and that managed colonies resist invasion by other cats. The scientific literature contradicts each of these claims. TNR of feral cats is primarily viewed and regulated as an animal welfare issue, but it should be seen as an environmental issue, and decisions to implement it should receive formal environmental assessment. Conservation scientists have a role to play by conducting additional research on the effects of feral cats on wildlife and by communicating sound scientific information about this problem to policy makers.

Manifesto for a feral cat-free world (repost)

Here are our reasons for believing that all responsible citizens of the world must oppose feral cat colonies.

The trap, neuter, and return [referred to hereafter as TNR] management of feral cat colonies [as practiced in the USA and some European and other countries] is considered an effective and humane method of control by those who practice it and by many other well-meaning people from the general public. The colony managers and their supporters are seeking a humane method for solving the catastrophic problem of the millions of cats dumped by irresponsible owners into our ecology.

However, many of us disagree strongly and are convinced that this policy is an unethical way to manage feral domestic animals as it only solves part of the problem and only from the perspective of the welfare of cats.

We especially believe it is inexcusable to re-abandon a domesticated animal into what is an alien ecology; especially an animal that is universally known to be a deadly predator and a threat to the survival of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians which have all evolved in an ecology without it, so have no protection from it.

When choosing to practice TNR, feral colony managers make a conscious decision to do the following:

1. abandon a domestic animal into an environment it is not equipped to deal with without assistance from humans - by virtue of thousands of years of domestication. This also breaks existing laws designed to protect those same domestic animals. Many cats become diseased and are malnourished despite their predation of millions of songbirds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

2. enable those domestic animals to continue to prey on our native wildlife. This contributes to the staggering damage to our ecology caused by the huge population of feral cats, destroying up to a billion birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians each year in the USA alone as well as breaking laws designed to protect our endangered wildlife.

3. when releasing these animals from captivity this domesticated pet animal becomes a public nuisance, trespassing, urinating and defecating in yards, gardens, and on public property. Their fighting screams keep people awake and they can carry disease to domestic stock and properly cared for pets.

Whilst the majority of people agree the original abandonment of the cat was unethical, they do not realise that the re-abandonment is equally so. In fact we believe it is even more unethical and flies in the face of the facts. To abandon the domestic pets again to suffer in the wild, kill more of our native wildlife, and to alienate the general public is indefensible.

How can the TNR advocates rationalize the violent deaths of billions of our native fauna each year for the benefit of millions of alien animals as ethical? They really believe that they have chosen to show compassion and humane treatment to cats yet they are doing them no good whilst, at the same time doing harm to many more millions of equally deserving innocent creatures.

The fact is that we must learn to deal with this present and real danger to our wildlife in an adult and responsible manner that benefits the cats and the wildlife they currently predate.

We call for feral domestic animals every where to be eradicated from the environment which they are harming.

In many parts of the world introduced rodents and mustelids [such as rats, mice & rabbits and weasels, stoats, mink etc.] are eliminated with humane poisoned baits and native wildlife flourishes. There is no lobby to trap, neuter and release these animals simply because the species have not been considered pets by most people but pests. In other words it is not the elimination of living creatures that people object to but only the culling of particular species¦ where is the sense in that?

On islands, such as the Galapagos feral goats, pigs and so forth have ruined much habitat and unique animals have disappeared. Many believe that the most famous extinction of all, the Dodo, was caused by feral goats and pigs being left by sailors as potential food, out-competing the birds for food.

In some countries, such as in Australia, legislation has been passed to make the release of cats into the wild a criminal offence and here too it has been shown that once feral pets and mistakenly introduced non-native species are eliminated from an enclosed area it is immediately re-colonised by rare native species which then flourish.

We believe that the most humane solution is to cull all such feral populations including cats. However, if there are those who cannot contemplate the death of one animal [i.e. a cat] to save hundreds of others [i.e. many birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians], then they must be responsible for their beliefs and pay for the entrapment, neutering and then housing in enclosures of feral cats themselves.

Here are your contacts for the United States House of Representatives
and United States Senate. Please write them. You are welcome to quote from our Manifesto, or send the entire thing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yard Cats and Birds

This is from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, please read more at the link above.

Besides the lack of suitable habitat for birds, urban areas present unique threats to birds, such as window strikes and pet cats. According to the American Bird Conservancy, cats may kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians each year. However, little is known about which bird species are affected most, or about the extent to which people can influence the level of cat predation in their yard. Tessa Murante completed her undergraduate honors thesis in May 2007, working with our research team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to analyze data from My Yard Counts. She found a surprising diversity of bird species killed by cats in residential areas (Figure 1 below).

Do Mockingbirds "Fly Over The Rainbow Bridge?"

Do Mockingbirds "Fly Over the Rainbow Bridge?" I often read or hear where someone's pet they loved was last seen "Crossing The Rainbow Bridge." I seldom get publicly emotional about an animal, though in my long years I have lost loyal dogs, birds, and even a beautiful silver miniature horse stallion that was still-born in my back yard.
I'd have to say the Texas Mockingbird is one of my favorite birds, mostly because of how closely I've observed them. We rehabilitated and released an injured Mockingbird youngster we found in our yard a number of years ago. The next year he returned to our feeders and hung around the yard, and then the next year a pair nested in a short bushy tree in our front yard.
There was no proof, of course, that it was him, except possibly that he stayed so near and appeared to trust us when we went to the car or mailbox, or to shoo away the neighbor's cats when he'd strafe them.
We'd see him each spring for several days in the top of a particular tree in our back yard. He'd fly up several feet, hover, then alight back in the tree. It looked like he was flopping back down, and the tree leaves appeared as if he were compressing them.
We had to conclude this was his mating performance because within a few days they'd build another nest in the same tree in our front yard. Luckily the tree got taller and bushier each year. We'd long since stopped feeding any of the birds because of the neighbor's cats and we had even considered deterring the pair from nesting here.
They had mixed success for a number of years. We ran the cats off whenever we saw them near the front yard, he'd strafe them, and I think most of the fledglings survived. This last spring he may have slowed with age. One of the cats left his wings on my front porch. Do Mockingbirds "Fly Over the Rainbow Bridge?" I don't know, but I miss that little guy! Cat owners, please keep your pets indoors!

Beat the cat enablers and get cats out of our ecology?

I posted recently in answer to a most excellent blog at Laura's Birding Blog that was authored by The Birdchaser. I edited my post slightly for inclusion here.

Have you ever heard the three most important things about real estate?
1. Location
2. Location
3. Location
In my opinion, the only way we can make headway against the cat enablers is to have these three things:
1. Organization!
2. Organization!
3. Organization!

St. Bernards destroy 170 exotic birds

I posted this in the comments at that site. 'Compare these canine culprits to feral cats. If it had been cats killed those birds you'd have a dozen cat enablers in here posting wildly, "It's what cats do! They were only following their nature. Cats eat mostly mice, rats, and other vermin. They're filling a niche in our ecology!"' Cats have no more place in our ecology than these St. Bernards.

MILTON, N.Y. -The exotic water birds never had a chance against the two enormous St. Bernards who transformed the normally tranquil aviary behind a town home into a killing field.

"There was blood and guts and feathers everywhere," said Milton Animal Control Officer Richard Pine Thursday describing the gruesome scene at the Muddyduck Water Fowl Breeding Center Inc., owned by bird enthusiasts Clyde Robinson Jr. "They didn't have time to eat the birds because they were on a killing frenzy."

By the time the two canines were removed from the fenced-in pen that early February morning they had slaughtered 170 of the water fowl and maimed another half dozen, according to an incident report. Waterfowl are birds that swim and live near water, including ducks, geese, and swans.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TNR Cats don't suffer?

Oh? What about the TNR cat that lost a leg in my truck fan belt last winter? I took the day off work and drove it to the vet, but the poor cat was too mangled to repair. He still may have been luckier than the ones who have blundered into my dog's six foot high kennels. There's the one I found coughing and strangling by my front door, too. That one cost me another trip to the vet.
TNR cats don't suffer? Hell, I'm suffering just being humane to the neighbor's TNR cats!

Sent to CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods

"Responsible Pet Ownership

Where is the "Responsible Pet Ownership" in hosting a blog on your site discussing "Why Do Cats Hunt?", including discussion of the disposal of the grisly remains of victims?
I wrote them again saying, "I'll give you a hint about responsible pet ownership, Cats Indoors."
Most of that "vermin" you refer to your cats killing is the natural prey our native predators could have used to feed their own young. Kill a mouse, starve an owlet, so to speak.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Save the planet: Get rid of your cat

(Read more at link above!)

Cats primarily rodent predators a myth!

Cats primarily rodent predators a myth! I find it odd all cat fanciers attempt to spread that myth, while the cats themselves continue to spread evidence to the contrary like the wings and feathers of the nesting Mockingbirds and Blue Jays in my yard.
The words “Ethics” and “Trap, Neuter, Return” should never be used in the same article, unless it is attacking the practice. There is nothing ethical about abandoning domestic animals into a perilous ecology to murder our wild life!

Feral cats escape ban (In Cape May)

Why, oh why would these people choose to take half-hearted measures with a feral domestic predator threatening endangered birds?

"Feral cats escape ban

Cape May City Council delayed voting on a beach-management plan Feb. 19, 2008, that would remove feral cats from the water's edge in order to protect endangered birds.

The ban was proposed after City Council found out the state might not contribute its 35 percent share of the costs for beach replenishment projects if the felines remain on the beach.

City Council eventually voted to allow the cats to stay on the beach, but declared they must be fenced in. It would be necessary for some cats to be removed, Deputy Mayor Niels Favre said at the time, but no cats would be euthanized."

Hysteria is the mother of invention...

Here's a post from we applaud! Take the link above to read more!

Hysteria is the mother of invention and the step-dad of molesting your so-called values

I know people who still avoid going to Exxon gas stations because of that tragedy. Exxon Valdez Anniversary: Take Action Today Today is the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Both the long- and short-term effects of the oil spill have been studied comprehensively. Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 250,000 to as many as 500,000 seabirds… Exxon Valdez oil spill Terrible. Outrageous. Action must be taken. There must never be another! And what if I were to tell you that that same year there was another disaster which killed between 1,000,000,000 and 8,000,000,000 that's one to eight billion birds.

Cats tagged in bird killing study

Scientists in Berkshire are tagging 200 cats to find out if the UK's pet felines are responsible for killing an estimated 92 million animals a year.
"For the first time, pet cats will be fitted with data loggers attached to a harness which will log their every movement and allow us to identify actions which have distinctive signatures such as eating, drinking and hunting.

"Correlating these data with the actual prey returned will give us a good idea of predation rates in urban areas."

Species most affected are blackbirds, robins, sparrows and other ground feeding birds, as well as wood mice, bank voles and shrews.

In a second phase of the study, researchers will look at bird densities in urban areas to see whether declining populations match high cat densities.

A survey of more than 600 cat owners carried out in 1997 estimated that British felines kill 92 million animals a year.

Is there a solution to the problem of cat predation on our wildlife?

The problem of cat predation is becoming dire everywhere, and will continue to become more so until ecologists and birders organize and put up a united front with our votes! Some of our present organizations are so diluted by the cat enablers all they do is meekly "study" the situation or reluctantly agree to TNR plans. Meanwhile the cat enablers "experts" are lobbying our politicians.
We hold the winning cards in these facts. There is nothing moral, ethical, lawful, or humane about abandoning a domestic animal into the wild and enabling it to suffer while decimating our wildlife!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A timely hint from "Susan Gets Native"

"Being a long-haired breed, this dog makes lots and lots of loose hair. Lorelei and I brushed her, Hooper, Nellie and whatever cat we could grab and stuffed all that hair into a cardboard tube and hung it outside (birds will use it to line their wee sweet nests)

I wasn't back in the house 10 seconds before someone landed and started plucking:"

I answered her: Thanks for the tip about donating the hair for nests! That's worth a link for you and a post for me. I have a surplus from hair and beard brushing I was saving for some reason. Now I know why! :-)

Fatbirder's Top 500 Birding Websites

The Fat Birder is messaging all members reminding us to display the logo & counter on our front page. If you have a birding related site and you're not a member I'd highly recommend you do join.

Galveston Fallout

Visit the link above for some pictures of new arrivals to Galveston from South America. The Birder gives a superb description of some of the hazards these exhausted birds have survived. I added: Thanks for the posts
As Jim would be one of the first to point out, those birds just arriving are especially vulnerable to predation, feral cats and our natural predators.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


No. 306 THE WILDLIFER Page 57
The policy of The Wildlife Society in regard to feral and free-ranging domestic cats is to:
1 . Strongly support and encourage the humane elimination of cat colonies

H.R.6311: To prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species

H.R.6311: To prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species

Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act - Requires the Secretary of the Interior to promulgate regulations establishing a process for assessing the risk of all nonnative wildlife species proposed for importation into the United States, other than those included in a list of approved species issued under this Act. Sets forth factors that must be considered at minimum, including the identity of the organism to the species level, the geographic source, and the likelihood of spread and harm to groups of species or habitats.
Provides procedures for issuance and expansion of the approved-for-importation list.
Establishes prohibitions on:
(1) importation of nonnative species or viable eggs;
(2) permit violation; and
(3) knowing possession, purchase, sale, barter, release, or breeding (including of prohibited species previously imported legally).
Allows the imposition of fees to recover the costs of assessing risks of nonnative wildlife species. Establishes a Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Fund into which such fees will be deposited.

Removal of Invasive Species Results in Santa Cruz Island Restoration

Today’s Washington Post contains a very interesting piece on the restoration of Santa Cruz Island, part of the Channel Island Archipelago off the California coast. With the removal of destructive non-native feral cats, rats, pigs, golden eagles, goats and cattle, the islands’ native plants and animals are thriving, including the endangered Santa Cruz Island fox and several species of rare seabids, such as Xantus’ murrelet.

This is further convincing evidence that the control and/or extermination of selected invasive species leads to the recovery of native plants and animals, especially in island ecosystems. The Wildilfe Society has strong policies regarding the control of non-native species, including feral cats, and continues to be an advocate for the recovery and conservation of our native fauna and flora.

Julie Zickefoose has a super Idea!

(Use the link to her blog to read more.)

"So, in celebration of National Feral Cat Day, this morning I sent a donation to the American Bird Conservancy's Cats Indoors campaign. You can donate online here, or send a check to:

American Bird Conservancy
Cats Indoors Campaign
PO Box 249
The Plains, VA 20198.

Please write: In Celebration of National Feral Cat Day in the "Memo" line of your check. Tell 'em I sent you.

Happy National Feral Cat Day! Party at my blog."

"No Kill" with TNR?

The TNR supporter's idea of "No Kill" refers to no killing of domestic cats unnaturally loose in the wild. They choose to release or re-abandon those domestic cats to the dangers of traffic, dogs, and disease, while enabling them to prey on our native birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. That is hardly no kill!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Animal Advocates... Animal Lovers...

Animal advocates, animal lovers, I hear the terms often. Let's be realistic here. These terms have been badly misused the last twenty or thirty years. I am an advocate for our native birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish and I consider myself an animal lover. The trap, neuter, abandon crowd bear no resemblance to me, yet they call themselves animal lovers. Their priority is enabling the perpetuation of their fur babies colonies, while ignoring the deaths of the endangered wildlife they threaten. I don't consider that an animal lover, do you?


The following are summaries of specific studies:
East Bay Regional Park District, CA: A two-year study
was conducted in two parks with grassland habitat. One park
had no cats, but more than 25 cats were being fed daily in the
other park. There were almost twice as many birds seen in the
park with no cats as in the park with cats. California Thrasher
and California Quail, both ground-nesting birds, were seen
during surveys in the no-cat area,whereas they were never seen
in the cat area. In addition, more than 85% of the native deer
mice and harvest mice trapped were in the no-cat area,whereas
79% of the house mice,an exotic pest species,were trapped in the cat area. The researchers concluded, “Cats at artificially high densities, sustained by supplemental feeding, reduce abundance of native rodent and bird populations, change the rodent species composition, and may facilitate the expansion of the house mouse into new areas.” (Hawkins, C.C., W.E. Grant,and M.T.Longnecker.1999.Effect of subsidized house cats on California birds and rodents. Transactions of the Western
Section of The Wildlife Society 35:29-33)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Analysis of the impact of trap-neuter-return programs on populations of feral cats.

Analysis of the impact of trap-neuter-return programs on populations of feral cats.
To evaluate 2 county trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for feral cat population management via mathematical modeling.

Theoretical population model.

Feral cats assessed from 1992 to 2003 in San Diego County, California (n = 14,452), and from 1998 to 2004 in Alachua County, Florida (11,822).

Data were analyzed with a mathematical Ricker model to describe population dynamics of the feral cats and modifications to the dynamics that occurred as a result of the TNR programs.

In both counties, results of analyses did not indicate a consistent reduction in per capita growth, the population multiplier, or the proportion of female cats that were pregnant.

Animal Euthanasia-Dogs and Cats

Andersen, M.C., B.J. Martin, and G.W. Roemer (2004). Use of matrix population models to estimate the efficacy of euthanasia versus trap-neuter-return for management of free-roaming cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 225(12): 1871-1876. ISSN: 0003-1488.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of trap-neuter-return and trap-euthanatize management strategies for controlling urban free-roaming cat populations by use of matrix population models. DESIGN: Prospective study. SAMPLE POPULATION: Estimates of free-roaming cat populations in urban environments. PROCEDURE: Data from the literature describing the biology of free-roaming cat populations in urban environments were gathered. A matrix population model was developed with a range of high and low survival and fecundity values and all combinations of those values. The response of population growth rate to a range of management actions was assessed with an elasticity analysis. RESULTS: All possible combinations of survival and fecundity values of free-roaming cats led to predictions of rapid, exponential population growth. The model predicted effective cat population control by use of annual euthanasia of > or = 50% of the population or by annual neutering of > 75% of the fertile population. Elasticity analyses revealed that the modeled population was most susceptible to control through euthanasia. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Free-roaming cat populations have a high intrinsic growth rate, and euthanasia is estimated to be more effective at reducing cat populations than trap-neuter-return programs.
Descriptors: castration, cats, euthanasia, animal population control methods, population dynamics, program evaluation, prospective studies, survival analysis.

TNR a humane approach for feral cats?

Supporters of Trap, Neuter, Return for feral cats say it is the only humane solution to the problem of millions of them being homeless. We prefer to call this practice Trap, Neuter, Abandon, because it irresponsibly abandons an animal, whose wild genes have been altered over 5,000 years into a domestic pet dependent on man, back into the wild. Many of these cats die under the wheels of cars, horribly tangled in fan belts, or fall prey to dogs, other animals, illness, poison or starvation. Where is the humanity in this?
Where is their concern for our native wildlife that fall prey to these superb alien hunters at the rate of dozens or hundreds each per year, totaling hundreds of millions? What happens to the orphaned offspring of these murdered birds and mammals? They starve, of course, unless the cat's jaws mercilessly end their lives too. Where is the humanity in this?
What is the real answer to this catastrophic problem? Our answer is we should do the only responsible, humane, and ecologically sound thing, and end the suffering of the feral invaders not suitable to taming, thus removing their threat to our native wildlife.

Hawaiian Birds The Race to Save Hawaiian Birds

More bird species are vulnerable to extinction in Hawaii than anywhere else in the United States. Before the arrival of humans, the Hawaiian Islands supported 113 bird species unique in the world, including flightless geese, ibis, rails, and 59 species of Hawaiian honeycreepers.
Since humans arrived, 71 bird species have become extinct and 31 more are federally listed as threatened or endangered. Of these, 10 have not been seen in as long as 40 years and may be extinct. Humans have introduced many bird species from other parts of the world: 43% of 157 species are not native. Among landbirds, 69% are introduced species.
Hawaii’s native birds and habitats are under siege from invasive species and disease. Immediate action is needed to prevent birds from going extinct within our lifetimes.
Targeted trapping and use of rodenticides to reduce numbers of nonnative predators such as rats, cats, and mongoose will improve nesting success and survivorship of birds.


8. Remove feral domesticated predators.
Keep in mind that avian predators (i.e., hawks,
owls, roadrunners, etc.) are protected by federal
law and cannot be killed or trapped. However,
feral cats and dogs also are predators of horned
lizards and can be removed from an area.

Town puts cat fight on hold

After an emotionally charged meeting at Rancho Viejo Town Hall, town aldermen decided they were not yet ready to address a growing cat infestation problem. An ordinance that would have cracked down on the stray cat population was postponed after a number of local residents voiced their concerns.

Tuesday night's meeting did, however, make it clear just how divisive the issue is in Rancho Viejo. Of the 50 residents in attendance, some spoke at length about their frustrations with the animals.

"Kittens grow up to become killer adult cats," said Reynaldo Cantu. "No one has the right to allow those animals on my property. . . . It's (the aldermen's) obligation to make sure these animals are controlled here.

Other residents said that feral and stray cats were disturbing their sleep, scaring their children and killing native wildlife.

But the majority of residents - and attendees from Bayview and Brownsville - seemed more concerned over the ordinance's implications for stray cats that would be trapped and removed from the town. Young, healthy cats might be adopted, but for diseased strays, the ordinance might mean a death sentence, said Alma Leal.

"If all the guidelines of a trap, neuter and release program are followed, it can be a successful program," she said.

Other residents objected to a provision in the ordinance that would have fined residents whose animals were found unleashed outside of their property.

Mayor Craig Flood defended the provision, saying "as residents continue to disregard the town ordinance, they should be punished. . . . I doubt that we could put that person in jail . . . therefore, it's a fine."

But Flood objected to the ordinance as a whole, calling it "unenforceable."

"If we catch a stray cat, we're not going to find anyone in violation (of the ordinance) except the cat," he said.

Even the aldermen involved in the ordinance's creation seemed ambivalent, before deciding to revisit the issue in a month's time.

"Perhaps we do owe it to the cats to give them a reprieve," said Roberto Medrano, an alderman. "But at the end of the day, I side with human rights, not cat rights."

Students to tidy beach for endangered birds

wo third-grade classes from Leo Politi Elementary School in South Los Angeles will be joining a small army of volunteers on Saturday for the annual ritual of making Venice Beach hospitable for the California least terns that nest there every spring.

Their tasks will include preparing the returning colony's 8-acre nesting site by uprooting weeds, removing trash, creating dunes and building "chick fences" to keep young birds from wandering off, according to Mary Loquvam, executive director of the Los Angeles Audubon Society.

"These children are all students of urban wildlife," Loquvam said, "and in this program they will working on behalf of a local endangered species."

The California least tern is recognized by its white body, black-tipped wings and black-capped head. It grows to about 9 inches in length and is the smallest member of the tern family. The birds prefer to nest on flat, sparsely vegetated sandy ground near relatively still, shallow water where they can dive for anchovies, smelt and other small fish.

They lay their eggs in small depressions in the sand, which renders them highly vulnerable to predators, particularly foxes, feral cats and crows.

California least terns have nested in the Venice Beach area since 1894, according to Audubon Society records. The existing colony was established in 1977 when three pairs nested on the sand just north of the mouth of Ballona Creek and local government agencies installed a protective fence around the site.

The enclosure has been a least tern nesting ground ever since.

"This colony is one of the few on California's coast, and had been producing about 16% of the yield on an annual basis," Loquvam said. "However, it has gone into decline in recent years. Right now, it produces roughly 12% of the annual yield and we're not sure why."

The campaign to tidy up the beach for the terns begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 28. It's part of a larger effort supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game to study the colony.