Cats Killing Birds
Are Cats Really The Reason Birds Are Vanishing?
The Audubon Society released a report a few years ago on the sharp and startling decline of some of the most familiar and common birds in America; the Northern bobwhite, several kinds of sparrows, the common grackle and the Eastern meadowlark. The average decline of the 20 species in the report is 68 percent. In the last 50 years, we humans have killed millions of birds, or unintentionally caused a dramatic population loss, simply by going about business as usual and somehow trusted that that all the innocent little birds were here to stay. Agriculture has intensified. So has development. Open space has been sharply reduced. The report of common bird species in decline is really a report on the human impact on birds. We only notice the fate of a species of bird when the death watch is on. The word "extinct" somehow brings to mind the birds that seem like special cases to us.
The passenger pigeons once were around in enormous numbers and were thought to be indestructible. It’s the enormous numbers of humans to whom their comings and goings were a common sight and who thought that the unending clouds of birds were indestructible. We recognize the extraordinary distinctness of the passenger pigeon only now because we know its fate, killed off largely by humans. What they actually needed to survive, it turns out, was a landscape that was less intensely human.
A report by Jason Rylander, Senior Staff Attorney at Defenders of Wildlife estimated that each year, 5 million birds meet their death as they collide with radio towers and other communication structures. At least 230 species are affected including cerulean warblers, black rails and other species in decline. I do not believe that most people would actively kill a whippoorwill if they had the chance. Yet in the last 50 years its number too has dropped by 1.6 million.