For those of you new to the discussion I recently reposted an evergreen article about the effect of feral cats on earth’s bird population.
This is a question from one of our nearest and dearest customers along with my response.
Hi Mitch. You know me.
I’m a long-time customer of your store and will continue to be as long as the three of us are still alive on this earth.
So it is with respect and affection that I tell you that it is irresponsible of you to deny that feral cats are harming wild birds.
Like you, I am not a scholar with letters after my name, so I cannot and will not attempt to assign numbers to bird death quotas.
But I do know for certain that feral cats kill wild birds.
I live in Uptown with many mischiefs of rats and clowders of feral cats as well as pet cats that are allowed to roam freely.
I cannot assign a number to the deaths but I know they happen as I not only find some but also hear stories from insane cat owners that think it’s just adorable when their cats bring them wounded and dead birds as a token of their love.
Birds are fine on their own.
I think you might want to contact Annette Prince at the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors to hear her story of what’s happening to wild birds including baby birds and migratory birds.
I am not defending the numbers given out by the American Bird Conservancy because I don’t have the skills to do so.
But I am defending their charge that outside cats kill birds.
And though I can’t defend the numbers, I believe them. And hypothetically, even if we said their numbers were way off, would that justify people allowing their cats to roam free and kill?
Regarding the cats being hired so to speak, in Chicago in order to kill rats, well, that’s about the most ludicrous thing I can think of.
That was nothing more than Chicago politics at its worst.
There had been cutbacks of city workers whose job it was to deal with the rat problem.
Letting people get cats to roam free and kill was a way to deal with the lack of budget money and still not lose votes from people who were freaked out by the rat population.
Thank you Sara Feigenholtz who has many bird deaths on her soul.
May karma come back and bite her. There is no way to determine what a cat is going to kill. Birds, rats, rabbits, etc.
Also, if you haven’t noticed the size of some of the rats in this city are as big or bigger than cats. No cat is going to mess with them.
Migratory birds in Chicago face so many risks including cats.
Crashing into glass here especially now that architects think the reflective glass is so wonderful.
The glass problem alone has caused increasing deaths.
Why would you encourage the freedom of cats to do even more harm?
I know you’ve run this article before.
Quit focusing so much on whether numbers are right or wrong and think about the issue of birds dying because of cats.
When I think about how much I have loved each individual Parakeet that has lived with me over the years, I cannot even contemplate the horror of losing even one to a cat.
Why can’t you think of all those individual wild bird lives with the same compassion as losing one of your own birds?
You took in Bagel from me.
Would it be ok for him to die so that cats can roam free?
From my perspective, whether ABC has the correct numbers or not, even one bird death by an outside cat is too much for me.
I would really appreciate it if you would reconsider your position and stop focusing on the numbers and just think of the painful situation caused by outdoor cats.
Maybe you could write another article that’s more compassionate towards the birds and the people who care so much about them.
I appreciate your candor and I like to tell people if I don’t piss off at least one person every day I’ve not done my job well.
The whole feral cat thing has been blown way out of proportion.
You don’t have to be an anthropologist to know that when you see a lot of rats and cats in the alleys of Chicago, there is a lot of food garbage cans and bins filled with satisfying nutrition which is why they are there but you don’t see any birds.
The tossed out food is inanimate, easy to feed upon.
Birds are very animated and hard to catch which why cats and rats go after low hanging fruit (i.e dumpsters.
If you look closely when you see the rats and the cats, you’ll not see any birds within 100 yards of the area.
Which begs one question, if the birds are dying, why don’t we see more bird carcasses?
Interestingly I caught this video of “hospice for pigeons” at the Daley Center in Chicago.
While we’re on the subject of the buffoons who run the city of Chicago all I can say is you are preaching to the choir which is now why we reside at ZIP Code 46356 in the state of Indiana that carries a budget surplus from year to year.
It’s also important to remember that Chicago is an ideal home to more than 300 Peregrine Falcons.
They are not intimidated by rats nor cats but the preponderance of pigeons is kind of like a buffet to them.
So I’d really like to turn the corner on this discussion and ask some more relevant questions.
Question 1 & 2:
About how big is the bird population? Has it gone down because of global warming or pollution?
“About 10 years ago, two scientists decided to estimate the total number of birds on the planet. The number they came up with was 200 to 400 billion individual birds. Compared to 5 billion people, this amounts to about 40 to 60 birds per person.
The world’s tropical forest bird population may be permanently reduced by 144 million individuals per year.”
Why are 40% Of World’s Birds Are In Decline?
There are now 1,469 bird species globally threatened with extinction–One out of every eight bird species worldwide, according to the report. This represents an increase of 40% since the group’s first global assessment of threatened species in 1988.
This a very interesting read “State Of The World’s Birds” from BirdLife International.
Let’s not forget the 900-pound gorilla in the room, South America.
As we so absorbed in the pettiness of Washington (DC) that we are totally neglecting the unrelenting fires wiping out the rain forest?
Before getting into the loss of wildlife, these areas ablaze with unrelenting fires have been called the “lungs of the earth.”
It is estimated they have been providing 20% of the Earth’s oxygen.
Why are we all not panicking over this?
What the Amazon fires mean for wild animals
“Crimson-bellied parakeets are one of 1,500 bird species found in the Amazon rainforest.
As fires rage at an unprecedented scale, the implications for wildlife could be severe.”
So at the end of the day Barbara, we both agree on one thing.
We need to save our birds (and the planet) at any cost.
BTW – Bagel is living the dream.
Your zygodactyl footnote
Doing research on this blog post about declining bird populations, I put together this list that I found enchanting (I’ve embellished the original list).
A group of parrots is referred to as a pandemonium, company, or flock
A group of rats is referred to as a mischief.
A group of cats is referred to as a clowder.
A group of cats can be also called a glaring, particularly if the cats are uncertain of each other.
A litter of kittens can also be called a kindle.
A group of penguins is referred to as a colony.
A group of lions is referred to as a pride.
A group of elephants is referred to as a parade.
A group of apes is referred to as a shrewdness.
A group of crows is referred to as a murder.
A group of geese is referred to as a gaggle.
A group of giraffes is referred to as the tower.
A group of kangaroos is referred to as a troop.
A group of hippopotami is referred to as bloat.
A group of buffaloes is referred to as an obstinacy.
A group of pigs is referred to as a drove.
A group of rhinoceroses is referred to as a crash.
A group of tigers is referred to as an ambush.
The group of whales is referred to as a pod.
A group of wolves is referred to as a pack.
A group of squirrels is referred to as a dray.
A group of flamingos is referred to as a stand.
A group of peacocks is referred to as an ostentation.
A group of eagles is referred to as a convocation.
A group of ferrets is referred to as a business.
A group of foxes is referred to as a skulk.
A group of ravens is referred to as an unkindness.
A group of cows is referred to as a herd.
A group of deer is referred to as a herd.
A group of chickens is referred to as a brood.
A group of dolphins is referred to as a pod.
The group of owls is referred to as a Parliament.
A group of zebras is referred to as a zeal.
My personal favorite.
A group of vultures flying together is referred to as a kettle.
A group of vultures perching in a tree or standing on the ground is referred to as a committee.
A group of vultures convening upon a single prey is referred to as a wake.
A group of the most destructive and invasive species on the planet is referred to as humanity.