If you put out wild bird feeders, you probably consider yourself to be a birdwatcher or “birder”. The feathered visitors to your feeders tend to become very friendly even when you’re close, and might even be considered “pets” in a way. That said, hopefully you make it a point to protect your feathered friends from harm.
A recent study done by Scott Loss of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute that was published in the journal, Nature Communications, estimates that domestic cats kill approximately 3.7 billion birds per year. Another study done by The University of Georgia in conjunction with National Geographic projected that free-range house cats kill on average 500 million wild birds per year. Although cats aren’t the only animals preying on your backyard birds, these studies show we need to be extra vigilant in protecting them from cats. I’ve outlined a few methods below that may just save the lives of your feathered friends.
Tips to Saving Bird Lives at the Feeder
- Eliminate ground feeding areas and low feeders, and clean up spilled seed and other foods quickly so.
- Offer no-waste bird foods such as hulled seeds so there is less waste and spillage.
- Hang feeders up high from gutters, trees or eves rather than using poles that cats and other predators can climb.
- Place feeders in dense shrubbery, gardens or hedge lines that predators will not be comfortable exploring.
- Opt for cage style feeders that prevent larger animals from reaching the feeder and give birds additional security as they feed.
- If you have “free-roaming” cats try to train them to stay away from bird feeders, or keep them indoors unless they can be closely supervised.
Obviously these are just a few simple ways to keep you backyard birds safe, and mostly from cats. I would encourage you to do further research to keep your birds safe not only from cats, but from other natural predators as well. Bird on!!
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