Birds on the Wire

A question posed in my graduate colloquium this morning suggested that the news didn’t have any relevance.  As I spent the morning reading bird-blogs (totally relevant!) and working on data analysis, I couldn’t recall any news stories of note, but upon returning to my computer there were a number regarding birds!

  • Washington Post reports that the largest comprehensive study on the impact of American cats on wildlife: “Outdoor cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds a year”. Feral cats killing more than outdoor cats.  Death by cat vastly overshadows death by windows-crashes or deaths from wind turbines.  Data suggests that 10% of adult land birds are killed by cats yearly.
  • Also worth noting, in Where the Wild Things Were, a  frightening look at how the loss of predators has eroded community stability, coyotes in Arizona keep cat populations in check and bird populations at healthier levels.
  • Earlier this month, a New Zealand economist began pushing for legislation to do gradually eliminate cat ownership due to it’s toll on biodiversity.
  • Also from New Zealand, a couple have created a farm to increase the Korora, White-Flippered Penguin population.  The population has doubled in the last decade reports the New York Times and Scientific American.  The conservation efforts in that region has also heralded the return of other bird species, including another species of penguin, the Yellow-eyed Penguin.