Ultimately humans are the cause of all threats to US birds

The data below – presented in a table – is from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. I think it needs publishing here and I hope U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service allow me to publish it verbatim on my website. You’ll see that cats are the single biggest cause of bird loss of life. And you might notice that the figures for the cause of loss of bird life comes from a study by a person whose name is ‘Loss’ (ironically). This is Scott R Loss. He has carried out many studies. He is an Associate Professor at the Natural Resource Ecology and Management of Oklahoma State University.

Bird attacked by cat
Bird about to be attacked by cat.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The next bit of information is important because when you read the table on this page you could think the cat is to blame for the killing of billions of birds. But you have to take a step backwards to realise that it is not the ‘fault’ of cats but of people. Scott R Loss states in his study The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States (2013):

“Un-owned cats, as opposed to owned pets, cause the majority of this mortality.”

Irresponsible cat ownership is the sole cause of un-owned cats in society. The concept of domestic cats was intended to mean (or should mean) that all domestic cats are living in homes with human caretakers. There were never meant to be feral and stray cats. Feral and stray cats are a consequence of human failure. We have to accept that.

When domestic cats in backyards kill birds this too is the fault of people. There is no obligation to have domestic cat companions. We have a choice to ‘own’ a cat or cats and we are responsible for them and their behavior. If domestic cats kill birds it is because we have decided to have cats and we have also decided to accept the fact that our cats sometimes kill birds. We are in charge and we can’t pass the buck to the feral, stray and domestic cat. Cats are acting instinctively.

Therefore, as stated in the title all threats to bird life are a consequence of various kinds of human behavior as all the other causes are expressly stated as being due to human behavior. It is vitally important for politicians to recognise this because they are the lawmakers and they decide from a legal standpoint how we deal with the ‘feral cat problem’.

This means that we have a moral duty to act humanely towards feral cats and if we want to limit threats to birds we have to look at our behavior and how to modify it.

Note: all figures on cats preying on birds are based on estimates. No one has ever done a nationwide study in the US. How accurate are the estimates?

Top Common Human-caused Threats to Birds (U.S. only. Ordered by Median Estimate of Bird Mortality Annually. As of 2017.)

Hazard/TypeMin RangeMax RangeMedian/Avg. Estimated
Habitat Loss/ConversionN/AN/AN/A
Collision – Building Glass
Loss et al. 2014a
Collisions – Communication towers
Longcore et al. 2012
Collisions – Electrical lines
Loss et al. 2014c
Collision – Vehicles
Loss et al. 2014b
Collisions – Land-based Wind Turbines
Loss et al. 2013b
Collisions – Offshore Wind TurbinesN/AN/AN/A
Collisions – Solar PanelsN/AN/AN/A
Loss et al. 2014c
Burning -Solar TowersN/AN/AN/A
Loss et al. 2013a
Oil Pits
Trail 2006
All (excluding cats)542,390,4381,476,827,5862,019,218,024
Industry only
(excludes cats and vehicles)



Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

follow it link and logo

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

I welcome and value comments. Please share your thoughts. All comments are currently unmoderated.

This blog is seen in 199 of the world's country's according to Google Analytics which is pretty much the entire world.

Scroll to Top