This letter is in response to the recent Kisses & Kicks kicking those who let their cats roam citing this will lead to a world without birds. (May 27.)
I am in agreement that cats needlessly kill birds and I am a lover of both birds and cats. I would like to draw attention to the many other ways that birds die in Canada.
In Canada, window strikes alone kill 16 to 42 million birds annually. Feral cats have a significant role to play in bird kills, with some estimates being as high as 59 per cent of kills by cats. Other factors such as automobile collisions, agricultural pesticides, agricultural mowing of ground nesting birds, and commercial forestry practices (destroying nests/habitat) account for millions more. Climate change also affects food sources and habitat contributing to population decline.
Keeping our cats in if possible, spaying/neutering will reduce unwanted cats, outfitting them with bells or teaching them to walk on leash are ways in which cat owners can prevent the needless loss of life. But non-cat owners can also have a role to play in preserving backyard birds. Applying window decals, placing feeders and attractants away from homes will help reduce window strikes.
Eliminate using pesticides (these harm more than birds), and lobby your local government to reform logging practices to ensure that logging occurs at a time when least likely to impact wildlife.
Together we can all ensure our world will have birds.