By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 at 7:38 am in Primal Rant.
Gary: I just borrowed the book, “Silence of the Songbirds,” (ref: pgs 173-176) by Bridget Stutchbury. I hope you have a chance to scan it.
Would you please do a column encouraging people with pet cats to keep them indoors? You know, I’m sure, that cats are a huge problem for birds nesting and birds that cannot fly well. To estimate the numbers of birds killed, homeowners in Michigan were asked to count up the dead animals their cats brought home.
On average, each cat killed about one bird a week and though this may not sound like much, the damage adds up because there are so many free-ranging cats hunting near homes and farms. The 600 cats in this study would have killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season alone.
In another study done in Wisconsin in the early 1990s, an estimated 8 million to 17 million birds a year in that state alone were killed by free-ranging cats in rural areas.
To quote from the book: “cats are only doing what comes naturally but their predation on birds is not a natural part of the ecosystem.”
Domestic cats were introduced to No. America when the Europeans arrived and only became popular in the late 1800s. The number of cats in the U.S. alone has doubled since the 1960s and now stands at well over 75 million. Even well-fed cats kill birds. The author stresses that cats kept indoors are less likely to contract deadly diseases and will live an average longer life.
These facts, along with the greedy developers who are rapidly decimating all the habitats where birds have shelter and forage for food, cause me to encourage people to try to keep their feline friends from further decreasing bird numbers. And, after all, birds are not predators, as are cats.
Ms. Beth Pforr, Brentwood, CA
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