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View Diary: New study: pooties kill billions of birds a year. Let's keep them indoors. (148 comments)

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  •  PhD in Ecology, almost 20 years of studying birds (9+ / 0-)

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:42:19 PM PST

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    •  Thanks for the response. (1+ / 0-)
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      I'm a zoologist, chemist, and environmental scientist, but I haven't focused much on predator-prey interactions, more involved with contamination of the environment by chemicals, transport and fate, impacts on biota, etc.  I love the cats and the birds, but I think the primary problem is human population. Were our numbers reduced, the cat numbers would likely follow. My cats don't go out unless I'm out there keeping an eye on them and we've been very involved in neutering the ferals in the neighborhood; quite successfully so far and, hopefully, their numbers will drop.

      •  Please look into the population biology (4+ / 0-)

        I'm not trying to start a fight, believe me I'm not, but you likely are not seeing the full picture in your colony.  How do you know that there is no reproduction, immigration, or dispersal.  These are extremely difficult to quantify.  Professional biologists spend their careers trying to quantify these things at a population level for various species - and the routinely find that the reality doesn't match their anecdotal observations.

        TNR projects largely enable us to dupe ourselves into thinking we can solve the problem of ferals.  Even if it works for an isolated colony there's no way we could mount an effort large enough to offset the predation impacts at a scale that would be meaningful for bird populations.

        Besides, even a stable colony of feral is still having an impact.

      •  Hopefully but not likely (2+ / 0-)
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        badscience, pdxteacher

        Like I said elsewhere in this thread, the track record of trap-neuter is not good.  It only takes a few cats to escape neutering or new cats to immigrate to the area (and why not since there's free food!) for the population to keep growing.

        But, the bigger issue is that of course humans are the population.  We do all sorts of things that hurt birds.  But keeping cats inside would be one of the easiest and most effective things we could do to help birds.  The 2+ billion birds dead each year by cats is a large chunk of all birds in the US, and cats may be causing many species to decline.  

        Part of solving this problem will require that we stop letting feral cats continue to roam with our support.  Basically, maintaining the feral cat colony in your neighborhood is sentencing thousands of birds, small mammals, and reptiles (if you have them in your area) to death each year.  Is it really worth it to let a few cats run free?  

        The best thing for your neighborhood would be to bring the cats to shelters.  It would be better for the cats because feral cats are subject to all sorts of health problems like parasites, fights with other cats, and nasty interactions with other predators (I've seen what a raccoon can do to a cat).  Also, feral cats spread parasites that can actually infect people.  

        Glad to hear that your cats are indoors!

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:35:12 AM PST

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