Categories: hunting birds

Feral cats prefer insects and frogs on island with many migrating birds

Kittycam footage. Screenshot from study.

This is another study, this time written up on the National Geographic website, which debunks the myth about feral cats having a cataclysmically destructive impact on America’s birds. It is a myth which ornithologists disseminate relentlessly. Clearly feral and outdoor domestic cats do prey on birds but the numbers that are quoted are guesstimates and often exaggerated, I’d argue, to suit the aims of bird lovers.

For one year KittyCams (miniature camcorders on harnesses) were attached to 31 feral cats living on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia, USA. There are about 150 cats on the island as a whole. The island is a popular stopover for migrating tropical birds. Biologist Sonia Hernandez wanted to see if the feral cats preyed on this oven ready meal in high numbers.

Many hours of video was made and checked. It is said that the researchers were surprised to see that birds ‘were not top of the menu’. Frogs and large insects were the preferred meals. This does not surprise me at all because birds are much harder to catch than frogs and insects. I am surprised that the researchers were surprised. They also found that 59% of the cats hunted. That’s little more than half of the feral cats of a TNR colony hunted. Once again it is an eyeopener for some ornithologists because they like to present the idea that all feral cat hunt wildlife. They tend ball all feral cats together and label them manic predators of native species but it not the case. Also it is noteworthy that 70% did not consume their prey. This was probably because they were fed by the volunteers managing the colony.

This is the sort of research which is conveniently ignored by bird lovers who want to push a point when criticising the cat. They want feral cats exterminated and TNR to be abolished. Ironically, TNR is practiced on Jekyll Island.

The researchers had no idea that feral cats ate some many insects and amphibians. Insects are quite a favoured prey item for domestic and feral cats. The city of Washington, USA is carrying out a large scale survey to count the number of feral cats in their city. This is an excellent starting point for working out their impact on wildlife. At present the ‘experts’ have to resort to guessing the population of feral cats in the US. The figures vary wildly. You can’t work out the consequences of predation by feral cats without know how many cats there are.

SOME MORE ON CAT PREDATION:

Veterinarians involved in TNR under attack within their own profession?

Dr John Bradshaw in his book Cat Sense writes that some veterinary surgeons who are involved in managing the welfare ...
Read More

Domestic cat meets bald eagle

House cat not intimidated by a bald eagle. from r/nextfuckinglevel I have to comment on this. The eagle may have ...
Read More

Do domestic cats prefer mice or birds?

Domestic cats much prefer mice to birds no matter what source of information you refer to (including personal obesrvations by ...
Read More

Crowned eagles attack cats and dogs in South Africa

Some of the nests of the crowned eagle in Durban, South Africa, date back to the 1960s. People have moved ...
Read More

Birds can use cat fur to build nests

It's the bird nest building season (Feb-Aug) and I have just learned that domestic cats can contribute to the welfare ...
Read More

Museum display of stuffed tabby cat next to line of 34 stuffed birds is objectionable

I believe that this display is in a Dutch museum: the Natural History Museum Rotterdam. It is unpleasant. It also ...
Read More

Allowing domestic cats to be unsupervised and free-roaming in the Europe Union is illegal under European rules?

A couple of Dutch academics, Arie Trouwborst and Han Somsen - the former is an associate professor and the latter ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Convenience euthanasia of pets is in breach of a veterinarian’s oath

Dr John Bradshaw writing on the Psychology Today website stated, "Or even (as does happen)…

3 hours ago

Spaying and neutering is ethical while declawing is not

Sometimes I see the argument that cat declawing is no different from de-sexing; the spaying…

7 hours ago

Persian and Siamese cats rated better pets than non-pedigree cats

This is an interesting study (Turner 1995a) which compared the general interaction between cat guardians…

13 hours ago

Roadside zoo “Wildlife in Need” – further court injunction stopping big cat abuse

Tim Stark owns a controversial Indiana roadside zoo called "Wildlife in Need" (an ironic name…

15 hours ago

Do tigers fight each other?

Yes, sometimes tigers do fight each other at times of flux and tension. The most…

1 day ago

Stranger in Japan ate cat food for two months without realising it!

This is an amusing story from Reddit.com in which a person honestly admits his or…

1 day ago