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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:19 PM

About those killer cats -

the real question is not whether carts are killing birds, but whether cats are responsible for an ongoing drop in bird populations. By comparison, we humans in the US kill millions of cattle every year, but what has caused a drop in the population is the ongoing drought: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014387837

Presuming that bird populations have dropped and/or the distribution of bird species has changed, then the question is whether cats are a significant factor when compared to such causes as loss of habitat and/or pollution of habitat.

Which kills more birds: a domestic cat or a 1/4 acre suburban lot with a grass lawn monoculture, no cover, no water, no insects or seeds because it is chem-lawned?

24 replies, 1774 views

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply About those killer cats - (Original post)
hedgehog Feb 2013 OP
appleannie1 Feb 2013 #1
alstephenson Feb 2013 #6
appleannie1 Feb 2013 #13
KoKo Feb 2013 #23
GoCubsGo Feb 2013 #2
MzNov Feb 2013 #3
joeybee12 Feb 2013 #4
OldDem2012 Feb 2013 #10
smokey nj Feb 2013 #11
Mojorabbit Feb 2013 #18
Motown_Johnny Feb 2013 #5
mopinko Feb 2013 #7
reteachinwi Feb 2013 #8
tledford Feb 2013 #9
forestpath Feb 2013 #12
hedgehog Feb 2013 #14
slackmaster Feb 2013 #16
Festivito Feb 2013 #15
XemaSab Feb 2013 #17
Festivito Feb 2013 #19
XemaSab Feb 2013 #20
hedgehog Feb 2013 #22
Festivito Feb 2013 #24
salimc Feb 2013 #21

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:38 PM

1. Scott's Bird Seed Kills Birds - $12.5 Million Court Case

Scotts Miracle-Gro - $12.5 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a producer of pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses, was sentenced Friday, September 7th in federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the manufacture, distribution, and sale of pesticides.

In a plea agreement, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts had done so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage. Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directives and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storicide II containers stating, “ Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.”

Scotts sold this illegally treated bird food for two years after it began marketing its bird food line and for six months after employees specifically warned Scotts management of the dangers of these pesticides. By the time it voluntarily recalled these products in March 2008, Scotts had sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.

This could have something to do with declining bird populations as well.

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Response to appleannie1 (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:55 PM

6. What were they (Scotts) thinking?????

So sad for the birdies.

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Response to alstephenson (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:37 PM

13. Money, money, money, money. Sadly it took 2 years before they were caught.

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Response to appleannie1 (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:20 AM

23. Yes....Maybe "Killer Cats" is cover for what Scotts did plus environmental

degradation. The Oil Spill in Gulf didn't help with the birds who migrated and our use of pesticides where birds feed doesn't help, either.

"Killer Cats.." BAH!

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:43 PM

2. Skyscrapers kill 1 to 9 million per year, as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird-skyscraper_collisions

Wind turbines also take out thousands of birds, and at least as many bats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird-skyscraper_collisions

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:47 PM

3. The "study" is bogus


First, it's not domestic cats that are responsible for any such change in the bird population. It is however the only way that the millions of feral cats (dumped by humans no less) who must eat to survive in the wild, can survive. But managed feral cat colonies DO NOT just kill birds for the sake of killing birds. This crap has been circulated for many years, but it's just not true. Cats eat rodents, and other pests, but that seems to be OK with people who want to rid themselves of rat problems.

So now I fear that the crazies with guns will use this "scientific" study to justifiy shooting any cat they see. A sad, sad day. Next, they'll blame cats for the bee disappearance, and all the dead fish washing up on our shores every day.

People should do their research. Many great rescue groups who have been in existence forever have written about this subject, like Alley Cat Allies and many others.

Humans are killing the birds with their chemicals, it's a no-brainer.

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Response to MzNov (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:48 PM

4. +1

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Response to MzNov (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:31 PM

10. Thank you!!!! nt.

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Response to MzNov (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:33 PM

11. ......

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Response to MzNov (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:07 PM

18. I thought this was already documented in the UK a while back.

That they were responsible for a huge drop in the bird population. I think they are only a piece of the puzzle. I have had cats most of my life and have two ferral cats living outside that are not tame. They kill and play with birds even though I keep them well fed.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:52 PM

5. cats have been killing birds throughout time immemorial

the idea that this constant is somehow responsible for a change defies logic

find a variable that has changed

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:10 PM

7. predators are crucial to population health.

they kill the sick and injured. and i love the way they refer to rat and mice as tho it is a bad thing to get rid of them.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:26 PM

8. Bird sanctuary

 

Our back yard has mock orange, hemlock, juniper, black cherry, grape vine, white oak, ponderosa pine, Swiss pine, forest floor flora, and there's room for a lawn. A few bird feeders and a bath make it a bird haven. Our cats, and our neighborhood cats, find it a haven as well.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:28 PM

9. What kind of carts?

Grocery carts? Go-carts?

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:36 PM

12. Funny how when a dog attacks somebody, generally the OWNER is blamed

 

for being a bad dog owner. But when a cat kills a bird, the cat is blamed - even though the fact that the cat was outside in the first place was most likely the fault of its owner, or an owner of its ancestors in the past.

Cats should be kept inside - for their safety as much as the birds' - but I agree with you that rapidly disappearing habitat is more responsible for birds' disappearance than cats could ever be. The "my cat, the might hunter!" attitude that so many people have is so irresponsible. I don't know how anybody who loves a cat could let them be exposed to so many dangers outside.

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Response to forestpath (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:11 PM

14. I think it depends on the environment -

my 60 acres of woods with lots of cover and a big old barn is very different from my daughter's city apartment. My cats go in and out, she tries to keep hers inside. One cat was a persistent escape artist - she lost him to a car.

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Response to forestpath (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:43 PM

16. Cats don't have owners

 

Cats have staff.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:41 PM

15. Saving endangered flightless birds in New Zealand jumps to places without flightless birds.

This is a non issue in the US.

In the south Pacific there are lots of places where flightless birds were eaten to extinction. It is then thought that the inhabitants then started to each each other, humans, cannibalism.

Not that NZ will go that far, it's just that too many cats there have it too easy. Those birds can't fly away unlike the radio and TV pundits who's brains can.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:47 PM

17. It's not a nonissue in the US

Cats kill billions of birds every year in this country.

Songbird populations are in decline, and cats add to that.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:01 AM

19. I'm not buying that it's not a nonissue.

I'd need a lot more data.

The use of a number like billions without an associated population number makes the statistic suspect. Also, it is too likely to be a red herring, hiding some other issue.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:25 AM

20. That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think

In a report that scaled up local surveys and pilot studies to national dimensions, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.

The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.

Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and an author of the report, said the mortality figures that emerge from the new model “are shockingly high.”

“When we ran the model, we didn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Marra, who performed the analysis with a colleague, Scott R. Loss, and Tom Will of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “We were absolutely stunned by the results.” The study appeared Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/science/that-cuddly-kitty-of-yours-is-a-killer.html?_r=0

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:13 AM

22. Again, I think numbers on mortality are incomplete until we know the replacement rate -

i.e., are numbers of birds and/or numbers of bird species dropping, and if so, how much of that is due to feline predation before adult reproduction? Once a bird replaces itself, it doesn't matter when or how it dies.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:04 AM

24. The assumption that cats are spread uniformly across the lower US seems unlikely.

For example, our mountainous regions probably do not have that uniform distribution of cats, feral or other.

Yet, they use this uniform distribution to then get these high predation estimates.

We defined a uniform distribution rather than a normal distribution because the lack of rigorously derived estimates of un-owned cat population size precludes assignment of greater probability to a particular value. This range of abundance is conservative given local U.S. studies that estimate densities of 0.06-0.16 un-owned cats per ha 51 52 53 which extrapolates to 46-123 million un-owned cats across the land area of the contiguous U.S. The validity of extrapolating three density values to a national-scale abundance estimate is questionable.


They use the roughly 3-million square miles of the lower US and get one number range.

Not to say the evidence is not mounting. I think more will be coming on this subject. But, I think our real problem with loss of animals in nature is from other causes that we need to address first. GMOs, pesticides/herbicides, CO2, ... before we get to cats.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:51 AM

21. Killer cats !!!!!!!

Very fine description & your site. So, most welcome !

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