As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Killer Kitties: United Kingdom House Cats Threaten Local Bird Populations

In a recent survey from across the pond that may dampen the Internet’s unwavering devotion for funny felines, scientists have concluded that domestic cats in the United Kingdom are posing a serious threat to local bird populations, which has steadily declined over the years. Conservationists have since been trying to convince obstinate cat owners to be more mindful of their pet’s hunting behavior and look into options that would prevent any more birds winding up dead on their doorsteps. If action to protect native bird species isn’t taken soon, the U.K. is going to be known as the crazy cat lady of the world.

The University of Reading’s Dr. Rebecca Thomas had initiated the survey in response to the scientific community’s longtime sneaking suspicion that house cats and their high densities in urban areas were responsible for the decrease in the population of birds that resided in towns and cities. Thomas surveyed various owners, questioning them on the number of small creatures they brought home, their opinion on this behavior, and whether or not they were inclined to remedy this situation.

The results of the survey showed that nearly 20% of domestic cats had returned with four or more dead animals a year, with only 22% of owners having been gifted with these critter cadavers. Factoring in the knowledge that cats tend to take one out of the three animals they preyed upon back home, on average, scientists estimated that each individual cat in the study makes 18.3 kills a year. It may not seem like much, but according to Thomas it is a cause for alarm:

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