If American feral cats only ate starlings the world would be put to rights. It would solve the ‘non-native’, ‘invasive species’ problem of North America at a stroke. To all the purists of American wildlife the thought of non-native species killing and consuming each other is bliss. But it does highlight the poor argument that feral cats are a pest because they kill birds allegedly by the billions.
Bird lovers hate feral cats. But do they also hate European starlings of which there are 200m in North America? Do ornithologists consider them a menace? They bully other birds and kick woodpeckers out of their nests. They spread disease and consume fields of wheat. Does the notorious American cat blog troll, Woodsman001, hate European starlings? Is he shooting them with a .22 rifle as he shoots feral cats?
Is feral cat hating more about selecting species that one likes more than disliking non-native species? Do feral cat haters also hate European starlings? And do they hate themselves? Most of the human population of America is non-native. I know I am stretching the concept of ‘non-native’ but European settlers have destroyed far more native American wildlife than all the feral cats in the history of the North American continent.
I’d argue that a dislike of feral cat predation is more about speciesism: preferring one species over another. Although if you dislike feral cats, you also dislike domestic cats because they are the same species.
Domestic cats have been in America perhaps since the 11th century when the Norse got to the New World much earlier than European settlers. Isn’t that long enough to grant them native species status? What’s the cut-off point? How long does a species have to be on a continent to be part of it? Do native species really have to evolve on the continent?
Domestic cats came to the UK with the Romans in around 200 AD. Brits don’t regard domestic and feral cats as non-native. The British don’t even think about it. They are just there and they get on with it and look to the future rather than moaning like cat haters do about non-native cats.
“Humans deem some animals to be ‘non-native’ and then persecute them but it is an artificial label. They are all animals under God deserving of respect.”
I feed birds in my garden. I’ve got some fat balls in hanging baskets to protect against squirrels. Starlings feed on these fat balls. They are as purposeful and as committed as ravens and jackdaws. I also feed jackdaws. It seems that starlings are naturally aggressive and, apparently, they won’t hesitate to injure or kill other birds in finding food and nesting sites. I can see this aggression when they are feeding and competing for one source as is the case in my garden.