Friday, July 11, 2014
I am writing in response to the July 2 letter written by Michael Patterson of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society. While I understand his concern about the decreasing population of some species of birds, I think his blame is misplaced and his solution is unfeasible.
Cats are predatory animals, but they should not be held singly responsible for the decline of other species. Mr. Patterson himself acknowledged this by citing the considerable deer population that eats through the foliage, but he neglected to mention many other possible causes of bird decline.
In many ways, humans are to blame for the deaths of many birds. According to a Science News article from this year, Oklahoma State University researchers found that nearly a billion birds die every year from crashing into buildings in the United States. Skyscrapers only accounted for a marginal number of these deaths, while residences three stories or fewer, which may be particularly relevant to Mr. Patterson’s concern about low-nesting birds, made up nearly half of the birds killed in this manner.
Many millions more birds die from a combination of human factors such as crashing into cars, flying into wind turbines and being targeted by hunters.