Cats are the #1 bird killer?

Why is this a hot — but diversionary — news item?

A study in Nature Communications study recently reported that cats kill as 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds per year. This study was widely reported by the MSM.

While we doubt the estimate simply because there is no body count and no good way to estimate one, the interesting aspect is that the estimate was made at all? What was the point?

We suggest that the point was to draw heat off the wind industry, which has been accused by the American Bird Conservancy of killing as many as 450,000 birds per year.

If cats can be blamed for billions of bird deaths — and no one is talking about banning cats — then certainly the wind industry’s comparatively paltry bird body count should merit even less discussion.

14 responses to “Cats are the #1 bird killer?

  1. Cats have not changed over many years. So why the sudden panic over them? It’s coming out more and more how wind farms are kiling birds and many of them are endangered species. It became necessary for the green energy folks to raise up a boogey man to draw attention away from the mills and what better red herring than cats?

  2. Yeah it’s the wind farm folks stretching their media muscles. This story has been around, off and on, for years. It’s merely being resurrected and repurposed.

    I live out in the country, work out of my house, and by dint of accident and sympathy have accumulated 8 cats. The cats like to bring their kills home to show off. Between the 8 of them they get about one a month. Mice are something else, they get mice all the time.

    The cats also stake out our bird feeders, with really lousy results. I don’t think they get any birds from that source. Overall, birds are too vigilant and too fast. My conclusion: these numbers are not only imaginary, they’re ridiculously huge.

  3. Hey — what a crock. Time to check your conspiracy theorist credentials and see if you’re license to yell “Copnspiracy in a crowded newspaper” is still valid.

    I hate to say it Steve, but I doubt you’ve read that study at all. This is about house cats and feral cats killing song birds — little chirpers. Not hawks and owls and larger migrating birds — those affected by wind towers.

    The data is from the Kitty Cam project — watching on cat mounted video to see what these cats actually do, when no one is looking, then extrapolating the numbers out for the number of pet and feral cats. Pretty good science and you have to acknowledge the spread of the results 1.4 to 3.7 billion.

    Not everyhting is about Globsal Warming, for heaven’s sake.

    Cats belong indoors and confined to the owners immediate yard. And that’s it. Just like dogs.

    No one who cares about this issue cares about stupid Global Warming.

  4. Hi folks, I just revamped the Fokker. Hey!! – Hungry cats eat birds. Hungry humans eat cows. I feed my cat, he don’t eat birds. None of my many cats ate birds. I should know – they fly with me. There have always been cats in nature, by the way folks. Much bigger ones than my pussy.

  5. Here is a point the cats vs. windmills does not not bring up. I do not think cats are killing eagles the way windmills do. Since windmills do kill eagles with non-purposeful take permits.

  6. Cats are hunters. Most cats will roam and most owners will let them. I’ve rescued (and failed to rescue) birds, mice and lizards a lot of times from my own cats over the years. I don’t know what their catch ratios were but they all made kills at times. .
    There are people who do plan to ban cats if they can. Cats are rarely going to be an important element in a species extinction. They are more likely to be prey to raptors than to kill them. The people who want to ban cats are often the ones who want to ban individual cars and other things people enjoy — always claiming to be “for the earth” or “for the children” but really just “for the buzzkill”.

  7. One HUGE flaw in the “cats kill birds” flap: they don’t clearly distinguish between North America, where bird species have coexisted with felines bigger and hungrier than our pets for thousands of years, and Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, where that’s not the case.

    If my cat catches a little tweetybird, I need to take the thing away from her fast, and burn it, because it is ill and will probably infect others. That’s the only way North American songbirds are vulnerable to cats.

    In some other countries, there really are endangered flightless birds that need protection, and keeping cats indoors is justified.

  8. Btw, if my cat kills a songbird, she’s being a more efficient and “humane” part of nature than a human could be…ending Tweety’s suffering and protecting Tweety’s uninfected, vulnerable relatives.

    I do observe a local tendency for songbirds to be more vulnerable to cats than they were ten years ago, due to wetter weather and higher rates of aspergillosis. To the extent that aspergillosis threatens any species–it’s not considered a serious threat–cats that kill infected individuals are actually protecting the species.

  9. Some of you are deliberately distracting with the “cats don’t kill eagles” nonsense. What we are saying is that the cat issue is to distract from the bird killing done by wind farms. Since you want to argue song birds, kestrils, falcons, crows, ravens, magpies et al kill far more song birds than cats ever did.

  10. Also, putting a belled collar on a cat turned out to be pointless with all the cats I’ve owned. They quickly learned to move without tingling the bells.

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