Today is National Bird Day, a day to celebrate bird species across the United States. Alley Cat Rescue cares deeply about the welfare of all animals. This is why we work hard to end the scapegoating of cats for bird population declines. We believe it is important to focus on the root causes of bird population declines, such as habitat loss and climate change if we want to save bird species.
According to the 2016 State of the Birds Report, one third of all bird species need urgent conservation action. The largest percentage of bird species in crisis are ocean birds with 57% of ocean birds at a high conservation concern. The report lists the small ranges and severe threats to their habitats as the reasons for their population declines[i]. Bird populations are actually increasing in urban areas where most feral cats live[ii].
Conservationists and government officials continue to blame feral cats as a major cause for the decline in bird and wildlife populations, despite the fact that national and world reports clearly conclude that human activity is the true culprit[iii][iv]. As we approach the planet’s sixth mass extinction event, scientists warn that human activity is the driving force behind this current state[v]. Further, as our nation continues to become industrialized threats like windows, communication towers and wind turbines will become more pervasive[vi][vii].
Although cats do hunt, they largely hunt rodents. When they do hunt birds, they will often hunt sick or young birds. This phenomenon has been deemed “doomed surplus” because these birds have a low chance of survival.
Alley Cat Rescue wants to raise awareness to the true causes of bird population declines and help increase their population numbers. If you are concerned about birds here are some simple tasks you can do:
[i] North American Bird Conservation Institute. (2016). State of North America’s Birds. Retrieved from http://www.stateofthebirds.org/2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SoNAB-ENGLISH-web.pdf
[ii] North American Bird Conservation Institute. (2014). State of North America’s Birds. Retrieved from http://www.stateofthebirds.org/2014/2014%20SotB_FINAL_low-res.pdf
[iii] Bellard, C., Bertelsmeier, C., Leadley, P., Thuiller, W. & Courchamp, F. (2012). Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity. Ecology Letters, 15, 365-377.
[iv] Sorte, F.A. (2017). Global change and the distributional dynamics of migratory bird populations wintering in Central America. Global Change Biology, 23(12), 5284-5296.
[v] Gramling, C. (November 3, 2017). Humans are driving climate change. Federal scientists say. Retrieved from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/humans-climate-change-national-assessment-2017
[vi] Loss, S.R. et al. (2014). Bird-building Collisons in the United States: Estimates of Annual Mortality and Species Vulnerability. The Condor, 116(1), 8-23.
[vii] Longcore, T. et al. (2012). An Estimate of Avian Mortality at Communication Towers in the United States and Canada. PLOS One, 7(4).
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.