Birds, Cats, Pesticides, Industrial Farming

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We are to believe cats are causing the decimation of the song bird population. That seems odd considering cats and birds have shared the planet for millions of years with no such effect. Song birds (and bees) have only been struggling noticeably for a few decades. Over the same period, pesticide use in both urban and rural communities and corporate farming have become prevalent. Pesticides that destroy insects reduce the food supply of all those creatures whose diet includes them.

Small farms with woodlots, tree-lined fields and collections of outbuildings with unknown numbers of feral cats fending for themselves is giving way to corporate farms with little or no woodland, no small outbuildings and subsequently no resident cats surviving by hunting.

Pet stores with oodles of cat food stacked high have, at the same time, popped up in neighbourhoods across the country. Cats have plenty of food available and few trees to climb to capture prey. Cats that are allowed out unsupervised - an unfortunate situation – in areas without adequate tree-cover must do their hunting on the ground. That just leaves mice, voles and other little creatures that don’t spend a lot of time in trees.

I don’t know how much dependable data could have been gathered about barn cats over the last couple of hundred years; but the potential lack of basic information raises questions about our knowledge of the interrelationship of cats, birds, pesticides and loss of natural habitat. Many concerned citizens have found visits to areas remote from vast highly-managed urban and agricultural land instills renewed hope. Albeit, we may need to rely less on the presumed objectivity of other people’s information and learn to trust our own subjective observations and reasoning more. After all, all information starts with someone, somewhere in the service of their own gives that information the air of proof and the presence of fact.