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cats vs birds

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1258466.  Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:17 pm Reply with quote

How can QI claim that there's no studies showing impacts of predation by cats on bird populations when a quick search of the literature comes up with so many? For example:
-Impact of predation by domestic cats Felis catus in an urban area (Baker et al)
Spatio-Temporal Variation in Predation by Urban Domestic Cats (Felis catus) and the Acceptability of Possible Management Actions in the UK (Thomas et al)

It's hard enough for conservation agencies to convince people to keep their cats indoors to prevent them from killing wild birds without this kind of misinformation coming from a normally reliable source. I hope QI addresses this in a later episode as this "fact" is nothing of the sort.

1258514.  Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:36 am Reply with quote

I can't recall the details at the moment to search for it, but wasn't there a case where a single cat wiped out an entire sub-species on an island whereon it was the lighthouse keeper's cat?
1258520.  Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:50 am Reply with quote

Biased bird-faction spreading fake news from thinly veiled pseudonyms. Sad! #teamcat

Alfred E Neuman
1258528.  Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:24 am Reply with quote

Tets? Is that you?

1258557.  Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:03 am Reply with quote

Found it.

1258620.  Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
Tets? Is that you?

Nope. I was abed after my night shifts when that was posted. And I don't speak twitter.

1270257.  Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:53 pm Reply with quote

Dear QI,

It is true that there is limited evidence that direct mortality by domestic cats is having an impact on the bird population in the UK (it certainly has done so elsewhere, see the pacific island extinctions, such as the Stephen's Island Wren mentioned above), high populations of cats in urban areas have sub-lethal effects on birds that could be just as damaging.

There is growing evidence that high density of predators can cause declines in bird fecundity and the rate at which they feed their chicks, and the measures which birds take to protect their chicks (e.g. mobbing) can increase secondary nest predation by other predators (by revealing the location of the nest).

Here are the citations for two studies that provide evidence for this.
Beckerman, A.P., Boots, M. and Gaston, K.J., 2007. Urban bird declines and the fear of cats. Animal Conservation, 10(3), pp.320-325.
Bonnington, C., Gaston, K.J. and Evans, K.L., 2013. Fearing the feline: domestic cats reduce avian fecundity through trait‐mediated indirect effects that increase nest predation by other species. Journal of Applied Ecology, 50(1), pp.15-24.

The fact that current mortality rates (about 55 million birds a year) are not having a visible effect on actual populations does not mean they will not - domestic cat numbers are increasing ~13% a year. It is also poor logic to say as they did in this episode that because bird numbers of a few adaptable species have increased in cities, there is no negative effect of cats on bird populations.

I am not disputing that there is debate on the subject, only the claim by QI that there is NO evidence for mal effect of cat ownership in the UK. There is.

1270259.  Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:06 pm Reply with quote

*however, high populations....

1270271.  Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:22 pm Reply with quote

Hi ESM and welcome to the forums - stick around and join in; we can always use somebody who sciences well.


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