Australian Ornithologist Misleads Online News Media On Cat Predation

Australian Ornithologist, Prof John Woinarski, is scamming the world’s media with his biased study about cat predation in Australia. It is all over the online new media. Almost every major online newspaper has an article based on Woinarski’s ‘study’. Here is one example: Cats kill 1 million Australian birds a day, study shows (the Guardian). The news media have been conned.

Words such as ‘staggering’ and ‘threatening the decline of bird species’ are all over the internet. You’d think it was bird Armageddon in Australia.

BUT…the big but, the lead researcher of this latest study about cat predation on native species in Australia is an “Australian Ornithologist”. He’s a bird lover and all scientists who are bird lovers hate cats because they think cats are killing too many birds. They want to force governments, local or federal, to create legislation which allows mass extermination of feral cats. This is their hidden (not so hidden) agenda: kill cats and lots of them. And force cat owners to keep their cats inside at all times.

When I skimmed these news stories (they don’t deserve anything more) I immediately thought ‘ornithologist’. I did a Google search for ‘Prof John Woinarski’ and right at the top of page one was this:

Ornithologists should not do studies on cat predation

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

“John Casimir Zichy Woinarski is an Australian ornithologist. He was awarded the 2001 Eureka Prize for Biodiversity Research. In the same year he was the recipient of the…”

Prof John Woinarski

Prof John Woinarski

His study was published in the journal ‘Biological Conversation‘.

Important further facts about this study:

  • The study combined data from previous studies. All previous studies about cat predation on birds in Australia are biased, I would argue, and the conclusions are estimates. Estimates are notoriously imprecise especially when there is an inherent bias in the background. Estimates are based on small samples and figures extrapolated.
  • The professors study is….wait for it…an estimate.

The study says that cats kill about 4% of Australia’s bird population annually. I won’t go on about the study’s conclusion because this article is about the veracity of the study and critically the person behind it: an ornithologist.

Ornithologists should not be involved in studies about cat predation. It undermines the integrity of science and scientists. Don’t believe this study. Or at least be critical of it and try and find the truth. This has happened before by the way. I’d bet the professor was asked to do this study by someone in government to keep the pressure up on killing feral cats in Australia.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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6 Responses

  1. TimeToGrowUp says:

    Just ONE million per day? That’s nothing. Why are you and they even whining about it. Cats are torturing to death 6.5 million birds PER DAY and 33.7 million other small mammals and reptiles PER DAY in the USA–confirmed, documented and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. That’s actually considered a low average just to be safe. If you want to blindly disagree then where are your peer-reviewed scientific journal-published studies that claim and PROVE otherwise? Oh, that’s right, you have none and will never have any. You can’t disprove reality. You act all surprised over that piddly 1 million per day and don’t even want to believe it. Some nations have it far far worse than they do!

    • Michael Broad says:

      Guesswork. No one knows for sure the numbers. So don’t pretend you do.

      • TimeToGrowUp says:

        With 100 MILLION feral and stray cats each killing only 1.3 birds PER WEEK, those numbers hold valid. That’s how few birds need to be killed by every cat per week to make even the LOWEST estimation valid.

        The rest deleted because super arrogant and foul mouthed Woody cannot comment without insulting people…. (Admin)

        Note: The studies are inaccurate and are guesstimates. You know that but refuse to acknowledge it.

      • TimeToGrowUp says:

        What’s the matter? You censor when you know someone is around that proves you DEAD WRONG again?

        • Michael Broad says:

          No I just know that you’ll insult people so I have to moderate your foul comments but I still publish them in the interests of free speech but God I think someone should shut you up permanently.

  2. Albert Schepis says:

    Yeah, the split second that I saw the headline, the word extrapolation came to mind. I may not be rocking and bird awards (what happens to them when no one is worthy of an award? That’s right, they give them out anyway.) And you’re right about the news media. They’ll hype anything and everything, even if they doubt the voracity. It’s all about readership and clicks. Dumping on cats is easy click-bait. This is the year of let whoever say whatever, too.

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