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Cats pose a huge risk to birds, study emphasizes

Any birder who’s been following the dangers of wind farms on birds might not be too familiar with the other major threat to birds: the house cat.

Yes, a recent study conducted by The Journal of Ornithology found that cats are a tremendous risk to birds, especially baby birds. The study looked at baby Gray Catbirds in the Washington suburbs with 47 percent being killed by cats and another 33 percent being killed by other predators.

Unlike the wind farms that kill more than 400,000 birds a year but receive more press, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds a year and are not blamed.

This should change however, since the study points out that cats have “a disproportionate impact on post-fledging survival in the suburban matrix.”

Cats have a big impact on the population of certain bird species like the Gray Catbird. According to researchers, the predation of this species was so large that the population could not rebuild their numbers for the next generation in some areas.

One of the authors of the study told the New York Times that cats are a huge hazard of bird species.

“Cats are way up there in terms of threats to birds — they are a formidable force in driving out native species,” said Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, one of the authors of the study.

This means that cats could potentially wipe out entire species from certain areas, mainly city and suburb areas.

The American Bird Conservancy has made recommendations for cat owners to keep their cats indoors. They argue this is a great idea, because not only will it prevent them from killing birds, but it will also increase their life span since indoor cats live much longer than outdoor ones.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

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  1. […] (TNR) programs for cats, the debate is more alive than ever. I’ve discussed this issue of cats vs. birds on the blog before, but if you’re new to the subject, bird lovers argue that cats kill […]

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