Showing posts with label killing birds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label killing birds. Show all posts

Sunday 7 April 2024

Urbanization is a threat to 78% of the world's bird species (c.f. cats!)

In the title c.f. means 'compare'. Humans need to stop passing the buck and blaming cats for bird predation when (1) the existence of domestic and feral cats is down to humans - but for humans there would be no domestic and feral cats, and (2) the ever-increasing urbanisation of the planet contributes to bird deaths in large numbers. Here is some information from a study: Bird species' tolerance to human pressures and associations with population change. Link:

Image: AI. Superb isn't it?!

This research examined the tolerance of avian species to anthropogenic pressures (human activities) and its association with population trends. The findings indicate that a substantial proportion, approximately 78%, of the studied bird species exhibit low tolerance for highly modified environments with significant human presence. This intolerance coincides with population decline, as species struggling in human-dominated areas also displayed trends of decreasing populations. The study underscores the potential detrimental effects of human activities on avian populations.

RELATED: Migrating birds drawn to their death in collisions with skyscrapers at night.

More detailed summary:

Let’s delve into the study titled “Bird species’ tolerance to human pressures and associations with population change” by Emma-Liina Marjakangas, Aleksi Lehikoinen, and others. Here’s a concise summary:

Aim: The study aimed to quantify the tolerance of bird species to human pressures across a global scale. It also explored how this tolerance relates to population trends.

Data and MethodsSpecies Studied: The researchers analyzed data for 6,094 bird species.

Human Footprint Index (HFI): They used binary observation data from eBird and modeled species’ occurrences based on the HFI. The HFI represents the level of human impact on an environment.

Human Tolerance Index (HTI): The HTI was calculated for each species, representing the level of HFI where predicted occurrence probability reduced to 50% of the maximum.

Population Trends: The study compared tolerances across species with increasing, stable, and decreasing population trends.

Key FindingsTolerant Species: Approximately 22% of bird species were found to tolerate highly modified, human-dominated environments.

Sensitive Species: A tiny fraction (0.001%) occurred only in intact environments.

Population Trends: Species with decreasing population trends had lower tolerance than those with increasing or stable trends.

Implications: The estimated HTI can inform conservation efforts by identifying species unable to tolerate intensifying human pressures. It sheds light on how species use space in human-dominated landscapes.

This research provides valuable insights for understanding bird responses to human influence and aids in conservation planning.

Sources: via the internet: The study itself, Research  Portal St. Andrews, Online Library Wiley, and more.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

The reasons why the majority of cat owners don't stop their cats killing native species

The Daily Mail talks about waging a war on killer cats. The deadly domestic cat. Humans need to wage a war against them to stop them preying on precious wildlife. There is already a news media war against the domestic cat especially in Australia where the citizens of that fine country are gradually being indoctrinated into believing that the domestic cat is the embodiment of the devil; something like the belief of Europeans in the Middle Ages. The era of witchcraft.

The reasons why cat owners don't stop their cats killing wildlife
Cat predation on crested lark curtailed by Walldorf's administrators. Image assessed as being in the public domain. The cat is starting to be seen in the same way as they were in the Middle Ages.

I don't think it is wise to talk about "waging a war" against the domestic cat because it is likely to encourage animal abuse. But certainly, the predation by domestic cats, a so-called invasive species, on native species is highly problematic and is beginning to upset a lot of people.

Natural process

But it doesn't upset, enough, the cat owning public across the planet (except Australia!). I think the truth of the matter is that most cat owners - and this certainly applies in the UK - are aware that their indoor/outdoor domestic cat occasionally kills wildlife but they don't mind enough about it. They see it as nature taking its course.

It seems that cat owners see the domestic cat as just another wild animal which should be allowed to prey on small mammals and marsupials because it's nature in action. What right have people got to prevent domestic cats expressing their natural desires and motivations? I think that is the reasoning behind a lot of people allowing their cat to go outside unsupervised and kill animals.

Pet owners simply don't care enough about small native species being killed by their cat companions. That's the raw truth of it I believe.


Perhaps this is an example of speciesism. This is when people favour one animal species over another. And it is probably normal and natural for a cat owner who adores their loved domestic cat to favour their pet above small rodents, the typical prey animal of the domestic cat. And birds. Birds are favoured above rodents by nearly everybody and cats kill birds and rodents. They don't mind about rodents being killed but the birds are another matter. This is another example of speciesism.

Don't care enough about nature. More concerned about the home

To be brutally frank, I don't think people are sensitive enough to the predation of animals by domestic cats. They just don't see it as a problem in terms of ecology and conservation. Cat owners see domestic cat predation as a problem for them because the cat can bring the animal back into the home and cause a bloody mess. 

Or the mouse runs under some furniture and you can't get it out and the animal starves to death and starts to rot making a smell in the home. Once again the problem with domestic cat predation for most pet owners is not the killing of prey animals but the disruption to the way of life of the human caregiver that predation causes.

Until the wider public have been indoctrinated into believing that it is their duty to protect wildlife and the planet in general, I don't think we going to see a big change in attitude by cat owners in the UK and other countries.

Perhaps another reason why many people are distanced from nature and therefore don't want to really get involved in protecting nature is because they've become emotionally distanced from the natural world. People often live in the urban environment and are not really connected with nature and wildlife. Global warming is an example of how humankind has become distanced from nature and addicted to products and a way of life which harms the planet. Think big diesel SUVs (still sold) and sport hunting (still prevalent).

A lot of people enjoy wildlife and one can't generalise because there are many people who really are sensitive towards wildlife and nature and the natural world. I'm afraid not enough people are genuinely concerned about the predation of native species by the domestic cat which is an invasive species. Although, we have to question the phrase "invasive species".

Invasive species?

How long has the domestic cat got to live in a country to become native to that country? There are no hard and fast rules on that.

We can't pass the buck

Whatever happens next, people need to remember that it is humankind who domesticated the North African wildcat and created 500 million domestic, stray and feral cats on the planet. It is the work of humans. The cat is an innocent victim of human behaviour. Anything we do needs to be humane and decent. The problem is ours. We can't pass the buck onto the domestic cat.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Do domestic cats impose an unsustainable harvest on urban bird populations?

Do you know what the title means? It is a bit technical as it comes from a study. It is asking if predation of birds by domestic cats kills so many birds of a certain species that the species is in danger of becoming extinct.

Bird-killing cat
My cat. Image: MikeB

And the answer is: we are unsure but it is unlikely. Here are the exact words:

"..the magnitude of the estimated cat catch suggests domestic cats are having a significant impact on prey populations."

'Significant impact' indicates that the birds are not going extinct through cat predation.

The study was conducted by questionnaire of cat owners living in Dunedin, New Zealand, over 12 months. A country where they are very sensitive about cats killing birds. - this is the link to the study if it interests you.

Years ago, I wrote on the same topic and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK decided that cats did not harm the population of any one bird species to make them endangered. The 'harvest' was acceptable.

This would have upset ornithologists who invariable portray the domestic cat as a terrible and destructive predator of birds when in fact cats kill far more land-based mammals and reptiles than birds as the latter are harder to catch for obvious reasons.

Here is the article:

Sunday 22 August 2021

My cat brings a magpie into the home and there is bird poo and pee everywhere

My cat is a great hunter. Recently, he caught two mice within 60 minutes and devoured them under my bed in the dead of night. I heard it all. He has caught pigeons and now he has brought a magpie into the home. The reason why he is able to catch a magpie is partly my fault. I feed squirrels. Squirrels chuck a lot of squirrel feed onto the ground. Pigeons and magpies eat this food from the ground. My cat stalks the birds and he has regrettably on occasions caught them. I can't do much about it and I don't want to stop feeding squirrels. Although I do warn them when he goes out so I do my bit to stop him attacking birds.

My cat brings a magpie into the home and there is poo and pee everywhere
My cat brings a magpie into the home and there is bird poo and pee everywhere

On this occasion I was watching television and I heard a commotion. It was noisy and it sounded disturbing. I got up and immediately saw that a magpie was flying around my kitchen banging into walls, windows and the bifold doors that lead out to the garden. While the bird was doing this it was pooing and peeing over everything.

I frantically opened the bifold doors. The magpie was constantly charging against them and suddenly there was air and no glass and so he passed through into the back garden where he clung onto a fence for a while, looking over his shoulder at my charging cat. He then flew to another part of the fence and eventually flew out of the garden looking unwell but he made it.

I am sure that he was injured to a certain extent but I would hope that he recovered and is now all right. It took me 20 minutes to clean up while my cat looked on completely nonplussed by all the events. It is just another little episode in the life of a cat caregiver. I even found a scratch on the hardwood floor that wasn't there before. I'm sure it was caused by the magpie as it panicked desperately to get out in complete terror.

When a bird charges against a glass window that hard and does it over and over again with loud thumps it has to be desperately frightened. I'm surprised that they don't knock themselves out. Sometimes they do.

When peace returned to the home, I thought that it might have been a good idea to have filmed the whole thing but that is not my style. I'm not a natural video maker. My first thought is not to exploit the situation and make a video. My first thought is animal welfare; on this occasion to get the bird out of there. This is instinctive and therefore there is no video record of this minor but disturbing event.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

A bird who can fight back when attacked by a cat

A bird who can fight back when attacked by a cat
A bird who can fight back when attacked by a cat. Photo: Reddit.

This is just a bit of innocent fun. The picture of this parrot which works well motivated me to republish it on this website. I suppose, on a more serious note, it would be better for everyone except the domestic cat if birds could fight back when attacked. They are so vulnerable. All they can do is to evade capture which means flying away or staying out of the way. Domestic cat predation on birds is one of the big criticisms of the existence of the domestic cat. It is an existential crisis in some ways. If something approaching half of the human population either dislike or in extreme cases hate the domestic cat, domestic cat predation on birds doesn't help the welfare of the cat. It can lead to abuses but I won't go on. This is a bit of fun that is all.

Saturday 3 April 2021

Chicken defends a fellow chicken against a farm cat attack

The video is called 'Chicken Solidarity'. It is exactly that. The well fed black-and-white farm cat attacks a chicken. The others chickens run away at the horror of it all but one brave chicken charges at the cat to stop the attack. This causes the cat to turn his attention onto the chicken rescuer and attack, which in turn prompts the original chicken victim to save his mate. It is a great example of chicken cooperation in the face of adversity. Chickens are smarter than people believe.

There is one caveat to my commentary. It is not altogether clear that the cat mounted serious attacks with the intention of killing. They are on a farm and I am sure they know each other. I think they sort of get along normally but the cat's innate hunting instincts take over at the sight of birds and he attacks.

Remember someone filmed it and it's probably the farmer's wife. Why didn't they intervene to stop the initial attack? Perhaps they know something that we don't.

Chicken defends a fellow chicken against a farm cat attack
 Chicken defends a fellow chicken against a farm cat attack. Screenshot.

Note: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened I apologise but I have no control over it.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Cruel Way To Kill Birds By U.S. Department of Agriculture

Who said cats are big killers of wild bird species? The ornithologists and Woody ;) LOL. People who know better realise that people are the biggest killers by far either by direct of indirect means.

The method employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas, USA is particular nasty and quite shocking to some people.

Rather than take humane proactive measures (deterrents) the authorities have put down a poison, Avitrol®, mixed with corn kernels. This has resulted in birds species such as grackles and pigeons writhing in their death throes for upwards of an hour having fallen from the sky. Some of this was filmed. Avitrol is a particularly nasty poison as it causes the birds to writhe and convulse which is intended as it frightens the living birds to stay away. Charming human behavior, isn't it? At least cats kill birds to eat. But let's remember birds are down the list of prey for the cat.

Of course passenger safety at airports is of paramount concern and bird strikes can, very rarely, bring an aircraft down. However, as mentioned, one wonders whether there are better more humane ways. The most humane methods should be used.

The Wildlife Services department of the USDA kills 3-5 million birds annually we are told. My personal view is that the USDA and perhaps all government departments are unsympathetic to wildlife if it gets in the way of commerce and "growth" meaning economic growth. And as there always has to be ecomonic growth, the only model capitalism understands, there is likely to be more birds killed in the future.

Source story.

Friday 25 July 2008

i hate cats

I hate cats

i hate cats, no i hate f**k**g cats is what some people say when they dislike cats. But they nearly always don't explain why. It appears that they don't understand why. They don't understand how to write good English either as the title to this post indicates. A lot of them use lower case "i" to start a sentence, for example. And their grammar is appalling - lack of education.

Also, they rarely say, I don't like cats because...and then give a good, reasoned argument. They tend to swear and declare to the world how they would like to kill cats in a cruel way. They are probably the kind of people who'd like to hunt cats. They appear to be quite violent and angry people.

i hate cats - the picture above - my response

Before I make my comment about cat hating people's comments, I'd like to refer to the picture above:

"They never look happy". Well, they probably don't when they're around the person who did the drawing! Cats don't smile and laugh (as we do), yes, but neither does any other animal so if this is a reason for hating cats, you'll have to hate all animals and if you do that you are in real trouble because they are a major part of life and the world so you'll simply end up hating the world. Also, humans smile and look happy but the smile is often fake and humans look sad a lot of the time. If we are observant, we can notice that cats do in fact show contentment and sadness on their faces and in their demeanor. So, this statement is incorrect on a number of levels.

"Their claws suck". Well, there are lot of things about humans that "suck". There are a lot of things about humans that are good and beautiful and the same goes for animals. In any event humans are animals (meant in the biological sense). This comment is pointless. Anyway, what sucks more, a cat's claws or a human with a gun? Think about it. A cat's claws are vital to their lives. What particularly sucks is Americans declawing cats in an unnecessary and cruel operation. In 38 countries declawing is outlawed; it would be a crime.

"They will never try to save you". How many people would try to save you and how often do you need saving? How many animals would save you? How many animals have the physical capability to save you. The cat would have difficulty on a physical level. In any event this statement is also incorrect. Cats can, for example, sense the arrival of an earthquake. They will forewarn people of an earthquake. This could save many hundreds of human lives.

"No tricks". This is also incorrect. Cats can be trained and in fact there is an entire circus (The Moscow Cat Theatre - see video below) based on cats doing stunts. Sorry guys you just keep on getting it wrong demonstrating your ignorance. In fact, cats train their owners! And vice versa.

"They make your house f**k**g stink". Well maybe they make the houses of people you know stink but this is because of irresponsible cat keeping. Cats are very clean. If you provide a proper litter tray, they will use it instinctively. They groom themselves fastidiously. People are often dirtier. Litter does not stink if it is maintained correctly. This is about poor human behavior not poor cat behavior. We create the environment in which cats live.

"They kill babies". This is a cruel and a highly ignorant comment. It is completely incorrect. I think the person is referring to toxoplasmosis. You can read about this by clicking on this link. I am afraid that you will need to be educated, which is evidently lacking in the extreme. A note about education. A lot of the people who write "i hate cats" in lousy grammar are uneducated about cats (and a lot of other things, I expect). Combine that ignorance with ill-discipline and plain nastiness and the person is a severe hazard and real danger to cats. Or this is a reference to the old wives tail of cats sucking the breath from babies. That comes from Medieval times! It ain't true.

"Floppy" No idea why he mentioned this. Some cats are longer and therefore floppier but people would normally consider this an attractive quality. Cats are flexible which is why they are such good athletes.

i hate cats - the things these people say

Now I'd like to refer to the kind of comment that people make, the people who say"i hate cats". I can't quote them verbatim because it might be a copyright violation and anyway, they are not worth quoting except as a curiosity, but I can summarize their feelings:

---One person liked squashed cats on the road. He was pleased to say that he had seen one that was completely flat with a paw sticking up and another with just the head in the middle of the road. He seemed to take delight in this. Don't you feel that this person has a problem? He would seem to be very angry and the anger comes out in a hate of vulnerable animals or perhaps objects. He seems to me to be the bullying type.

---Another person said he whacked a cat with a rock at point blank range and the f**k**g stupid animal was to (this should have been "too") stupid to die. He seemed pleased with himself in inflicting an act of cruelty on a animal. This would be a crime in the UK. The way he writes indicates a lot of anger. A lot of criminals have difficulty with anger. In UK prisons criminals have to attend anger management courses which indicates that criminality and anger go hand in hand. The anger probably emanates from a poor childhood that lacked security and there may have been violence in the family. This is very often the case. Violence begets violence. And one way of expressing anger is through violence. It is easier to be violent towards a small animal rather than a big one (e.g. a person bigger than the person who hit the cat with a rock). I'd bet he wouldn't hit a big person with a rock. He is therefore probably a bullying type as well.

---Another person who said he hated cats said that cats are squishy and purple. Not sure about that. I haven't seen any purple cats. Maybe he wrote that while taking recreational drugs.

---Another person said i hate cats because they do nothing, they are stupid and can't be house trained (he refers to litter training), they won't play with you or show affection or emotion, they are unpredictable and will claw and bite you, they are filthy, cats are vermin and should be eradicated. Well I think that this person needs training or educating but I think training is more applicable. Pretty well everything he says about cats is incorrect. Cats love to play and use the litter naturally (99% of cats will and if not it is probably due to stress caused by the human or by illness). The cats that this person meets are probably frightened by him or he treats them badly and that is probably why he gets scratched. Cats are extremely clean animals. I could go on. He has had a bad education regarding cats and probably dislikes lots of animals.

---One agreed with the phrase, i hate cats because she saw a cat hunt and kill a bird on a bird feeder in her garden. She wanted the cat to be killed as a result. I wonder whether she thinks that a few thousand people should be killed for sport hunting wild animals and killing them. Or all the wild cats in Africa should be destroyed for killing wild animals to live. People kill for pleasure in sport hunting and cat kills out of instinct to survive. Which is more deserving of punishment?

---One person ran over a cat at night and it gave him a nice feeling. You are sick.

---One person, though, makes a good point, which should be addressed. He says i hate cats because they foul his garden and he can't do anything about it. He is not protected by the law and nothing really stops them. He refers to cats belonging to neighbors. I can sympathize with this. But we all have to suffer many things that displease us when we live close to each other. Noise is a big problem which is difficult to resolve, for example. When we live near each other we have to tolerate a certain amount of disruption to the way we want our life to be. Sometimes the person doing the disrupting will breaking the law and can be stopped. But if he is within the law the legislators (the people we elect) have decided that the nuisance caused is to be tolerated. As legislators act for the majority people who are upset with neighboring cats fouling their garden are in the minority. It is also worth mentioning that cats most often bury feces and most cats use cat litters in the home so this particular person was unfortunate to live next door to a person who was possibly acting irresponsibly.

Sometimes, however an action can be started in the tort of nuisance but the this is a difficult and off-putting route. Sometimes too the nuisance is minor for some but grave for others. In other words, the person doing the complaining has a problem with the problem and magnifies it. The person who doesn't like cats fouling his garden has a point but he probably doesn't like cats that much either.

i hate cats - Conclusion

I sense that these people have a personal problem - probably anger related. I'd bet my bottom dollar that they are sometimes people who are angry but don't know where the anger comes from. If it is not that it is probably a lack of education that makes them say, i hate cats....There are many stories on the internet where a man who was a cat hater becomes a cat lover because his girlfriend kept a cat and got to know cats. It is more about knowledge and experiences that will draw you to cats. One other thing, as women are more likely to prefer cats over dogs and therefore to keep a cat it is probably sensible for a man to get to like cats as it will improve his prospects of finding a good woman - practical point...

There is nothing in a cat or any animal that can be hated as they all behave naturally. If a person hates cats, he hates a natural animal. He therefore must hate nature and as nature is the fabric of our world, he hates the world but doesn't know it.


Update - 21 January 2021. This is 13 years after the article was written. And still a substantial section of society anywhere in the world hate domestic cats. Perhaps America is best known for this split in society between those who love and those who hate cats. Or perhaps I'm being unfair. Australia is probably where it happens the most. This is because ornithologists i.e. bird lovers hate domestic cats for killing the birds they love. And when the birds are native species, it hurts particularly distressingly for bird lovers. And the problem is not going to go away. In fact, it's going to get worse because there are more cats as there are more people and therefore there will be more bird deaths at the hands of cat predation. You wonder where it will end up.

There is a lot of anger against cats from some people. It can lead them to taking the law into their own hands. These people sometimes shoot feral and stray domestic cats which, although a crime, is hardly ever treated as such because (1) law enforcement is disinterested and (2) people hardly ever see it happen and therefore there is a distinct lack of evidence which is a barrier to a successful prosecution which in turn feeds back to apathy amongst police officers. There is also the view that cats are 'just cats' and the police are too busy dealing with crimes against people. This is the age-old problem of humans being superior to cats and other animals of any species.

Some people ask whether it is normal to hate cats. Obviously, it is normal to hate gets but most people don't hate cats. And if a person hates cats, it is normally for the wrong reasons. It is normally because they don't understand the domestic cat or wild cats. Or it is because they are frightened of them. An extreme, irrational fear of cats is called ailurophobia. You might have heard of it. It is normal for humans to do a lot of strange things. Because humans can be very strange. It is equally normal to love cats. And there are more people who love cats than hate them. Although there are more people who hate cats than hate dogs. That's because cats are more independent than dogs. And dogs look up to their masters, the human as the pack leader. Humans like that. It massages their ego. That is why more people like dogs than like cats in my view.

Photo published under a creative commons license and by PDXdj

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