Cats Continue Their Ongoing War Against Birds

| Tue Aug. 7, 2012 5:36 PM EDT

Yet another study has been done investigating the shocking allegation that cats kill lots of birds:

“I think it will be impossible to deny the ongoing slaughter of wildlife by outdoor cats given the videotape documentation and the scientific credibility that this study brings,” said Michael Hutchins, Executive Director/CEO of The Wildlife Society.

Yes indeed, the slaughter of wildlife. But there's not much new here. The investigators attached cameras to a bunch of cats and then counted how many critters they killed. The lead author calls the results "surprising," and the press release from the American Bird Conservancy says the study shows that house cats kill "far more than the previous estimate of a billion birds and other animals each year."

That might be true on the "other animals" front, but not on the bird front. A year ago the American Bird Conservancy estimated that cats killed 500 million birds per year. The new study says that cats kill....500 million birds per year. Last year I looked into this and concluded that this probably represents about 3% of all birds in the United States. There's more to it than just that (cats might have a bigger impact on specific species in specific places, for example), and you can decide for yourself whether 3% is a lot or a little. Either way, though, this study doesn't seem to change things much.

ALSO: Judicial notice is hereby taken that birds make up only 13% of total feline kills. But nobody seems to care much about the other 87%. Why is that? Apparently lizards, voles, chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes don't have a very strong lobbying presence.

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