UK: More proof that decline in bird numbers is not the cat’s fault

Bird populaton decline uk

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Often the cat is blamed for a decline in the population of some bird species. If you analyse it, it is actually a case of people passing the buck, putting the blame onto a species other than themselves. The cat is the prime target as a scapegoat. We know that the increased activities of an increasing population of people are the reasons for a decline in the population of bird species.

Take, for example, the recent news in the Times newspaper (7th December 2013) reporting that once familiar birds are now a rare sight. Here are some examples. The figures relate to population decline since 1995.

  • Yellow wagtail decline of 45%
  • Turtle dove down 95%
  • Snipe down 31%
  • Wood warbler down 69%
  • Lapwing down 41%
  • Grey partridge down 53%
  • Starling down 53%
  • Cuckoo down 50%
  • Corn bunting down 34%
  • Whinchat down 60%

Despite some success stories in bird conservation, the general impression is of a decline in bird species populations.

Over the period 1995 to present (2013) the domestic, stray and feral cat population in the UK has changed little, at around 7-10 million.

If the cat population has increased very little or remained more of less static over this period while some bird species have declined by large percentages we have to conclude that it is not cats that are responsible but people.

Colette Hall, a person who monitors species for the Wildlife Trust, states that the breeding ranges of waders (birds that live on wetlands) are “drastically shrinking”. The main reason is that wetlands are being drained and developed for farming and housing. This is a classic case of loss of habitat, which is the single biggest reason for wildlife species declines across the board.

Phil Grice, a senior environmental specialist in ornithology at Natural England, is working closely with “farmers and land managers” to make improvements. In other words he is working with people.

These, sometimes, quite startling declines in bird species populations are mainly due to human activity. The cat plays a very much lesser role, relatively insignificant. As I have always stated, cats prefer ground dwelling mammals to birds for the simple reason they are easier to catch.

Photo Jonathan Jordan

2 thoughts on “UK: More proof that decline in bird numbers is not the cat’s fault”

  1. Of course they blame cats because they won’t blame themselves whose fault it really is.
    What would they do if no cats were allowed outside and all ferals got rid of,who would they blame then?
    Cats are an easy target.

  2. I went to school in Wiltshire and I can tell you that out there you can’t even see the other side of half the fields. The farmers chop every single tree down to grow crops. It’s almost like a desert. Other counties have a bit more in the way of trees I notice. But either way – the more those farmers squeeze out of the land the less there will be for anything else. No trees for the birds to build nests in – nothing – just barren bloody landscape without a tree for miles. Awful – I have always felt it should be illegal for farmers to destroy land which belongs to everyone. I kind of hate farmers. They are often mean hearted people with little care for the ecosystem beyond protecting their stupid crops. Sorry – but unless your an organic farmer or a small farmer then chances are you are destroying the countryside with carcinogenic pesticides filtering into the water table and all kinds of awful stuff – not to mention the animals suffering at farms where they ‘produce’ animals.

    By the way – if this stupid atlantic trade deal goes through we might end up being stuck with many of the unhealthy foods and food practices which go on in north america. Part of the trade deal allows corporations to sew governements for not accepting their products. Personally I believe the trade deal is just a corporate wishlist – because that’s exactly what it is. It won’t benefit anyone else. I think however many people over here will start marching in the streets if we start having to eat chickens washed in chlorine and genetically modified fruits and vegetables. These practices are illegal here so far but for the ‘fair and equal’ trade the corporations want they will insist that we must accept these things. It has been said that people over here won’t be affected where it is about health or human rights but of course it will happen in a back handed way. Next thing Monsanto will be suing the French government because France refuses to sell some food product like cerial or something which contains their north american gentically modified ingredients. Like I said – they are promising we won’t be subjected to this but I doubt it – it will come if the 1% wants it to.


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