Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
Are cats a threat to birds, or are cats simply part of the natural scheme of things, having a good time when outdoors, pretty much harmless when it comes to birds and other small critters?
That’s a loaded question. I know cat owners who let their cats outdoors and acknowledge that cats kill. And owners who let their cats outdoors and refuse to believe that their well-fed kitty kills anything. Why would it? And owners who do not let their cats outdoors except on a leash.
Studies are quoted all the time to show that cats kill, and kill not for food but because killing is part of that animal’s nature. But are these studies impartial? Should we believe them?
Now comes the KittyCam. This is a very small video camera created by engineers at National Geographic Remote Imaging. It was attached to 60 cats for a study of free-roaming cats in Georgia. Over 2,000 hours of cat activity were recorded.
You can read about this study on the Web site of The Wildlife Society. You could say that the very name brands this organization as prejudiced against cats. But the report simply describes what the cameras recorded.
That being, among other things, that cats do kill. And 49 percent of the animals killed were left uneaten at the killing site. Twenty-eight percent of prey was eaten, and 23 percent was taken home. Which means that 72 percent of the kills were not made for food. Cats hunt because it is their nature to do so.
Keeping cats inside or leashed is important to wildlife, birds in particular. Birds in this part of the world did not evolve with the animal we know as a domestic cat. Our birds are not equipped by nature to successfully avoid cat attacks.
The full article is at http://news.wildlife.org/twp/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-traveling-feline/
The cat below was hunting near Lake Independence in western Hennepin County.
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