Browsing the archives for the Cats and Birds category

Nico Dauphine Update

Photo from an online application form Nico Dauphine was (until Tuesday) using to hire field assistants, whose duties include “assist[ing] citizen participants in deploying miniature collar-mounted cameras on their free-roaming pet domestic cats.”
Tuesday, while animal welfare organizations across the country were issuing statements condemning the alleged cruelty and urging justice in the case, Nico Dauphine’s [...]

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Blowback

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
—Sir Walter Scott
Wind turbine near Walnut, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Bill Whittaker.
Two stories from New York Times writer Elisabeth Rosenthal caught my eye this past Monday. The first, “Tweety Was Right: Cats Are a Bird’s No. 1 Enemy”—the latest recounting of [...]

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Catbirds, Cats, and Scapegoats

A Gray Catbird in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons and John Benson.
Once again, the Smithsonian has apparently put marketing (and perhaps politics, too) ahead of science, reviving a story first posted on the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s (SMBC) Website in October of last year (which has since been removed).

“Alarming number of fledgling, [...]

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Exceptional Predator

Using Google to translate the page’s contents, it seems this bird—despite “mock[ing] the cat and with loud cries of diving at him from the branches of acacia”—was yet another one that got away.
In the third edition of his massive book Ornithology—“the classic text for the undergraduate ornithology course,” according to the description on Amazon.com—Frank Gill [...]

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American Bird Con

For years now, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has been promoting erroneous and misleading information in their tireless effort to vilify free-roaming cats. No organization has been more effective at working the anti-TNR pseudoscience into a message neatly packaged for the mainstream media, and eventual consumption by the general public. Speaking to the Wall Street [...]

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Conversation Killer

Over the weekend, a comment (criticizing, once again, the recently released University of Nebraska-Lincoln “report”) I posted on Audubon magazine’s blog, The Perch, drew fire from Travis Longcore.
Longcore, of course, is the lead author of the widely circulated paper, “Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap-Neuter-Return” and Science Director for [...]

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Adult Supervision Required III

As I dig deeper into “Feral Cats and Their Management,” I continue to undercover discrepancies between the story Hildreth, Vantassel, and Hygnstrom are telling and what’s actually in the literature.
As I pointed out in my first post on the topic, Olof Liberg did not differentiate between native and non-native prey, as Hildreth, Vantassel, and Hygnstrom [...]

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Framed No. 2

The second in the Framed series is from the recently released book, The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation.

The book’s authors actually have very little to say about TNR, assuming, I suppose, that the accompanying photos say it all. The caption for this one reads (somewhat incongruously, if you ask me): “Managed feral cat [...]

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Framed No. 1

That the ancient Egyptians worshiped cats as gods is, today, common knowledge. Just as their regal little bodies were preserved through mummification, their likenesses were preserved in tomb paintings.
But the cat’s image has not always been portrayed with such reverence. “To the medieval mind,” writes naturalist and biologist Roger Tabor, “there was a sinister side [...]

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Rap(tor) Sheet

Perhaps it’s an act of desperation, this “kitchen sink” approach favored by some free-roaming cat/TNR opponents. Throw everything—including the kitchen sink—into the anti-cat argument, and perhaps something will stick. Their impact on wildlife and the environment, for instance, or their threat to public safety—it seems there’s something for everybody. (Surely it’s only a matter of [...]

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A Tale of Two Cities

A Gray Catbird in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons and John Benson.
According to its website, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is a “national and international leader in the biology and conservation of migratory birds.” When it comes to cats and their potential impact on birds, however, the SMBC apparently has a lot to [...]

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Inside Job II

Another study demonstrates that the majority of pet cats spend their time indoors.
In my previous post on the subject, I somehow overlooked Linda Lord’s paper, “Attitudes toward and perceptions of free-roaming cats among individuals living in Ohio.” [1] In it, Lord, Assistant Professor in Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, presents the results of [...]

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Garden Tool

The timing was uncanny. Four days after my post “Inside Job,” Washington Post columnist Adrian Higgins reported incorrectly that two-thirds of pet cats are allowed outdoors. Higgins doesn’t mention where he got that figure, but considering the sources he used for the piece—including the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), The Wildlife Society, and Dauphiné and Cooper’s [...]

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Inside Job

Results from the American Pet Products Association’s 2009­­–2010 National Pet Owners Survey suggest that cats in this country are spending more time indoors than ever before. Although the proportion of owners keeping their cats inside at night has remained relatively steady since 1998 (at approximately 66%), their has been a 14% increase in daytime confinement [...]

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The Scat Hits the Fan

Relative to other studies of the domestic cat’s predatory habits, Carol Fiore’s 2000 thesis work is cited only occasionally in the literature. [1, 2] Indeed, it might easily go unnoticed were it not for its inclusion in the American Bird Conservancy’s brochure Domestic Cat Predation on Birds and Other Wildlife, and the fact that Fiore [...]

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Red Herrings, White Lies, and Blue Birds

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan, USA. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons and Sandysphotos2009
As I sift through my growing collection of studies, news stories, press releases, and anything else relevant to the free-roaming cats/TNR debate, it’s not unusual for me to be diverted by a seemingly minor item—a claim, interpretation, or reference that simply doesn’t [...]

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Repeat After Me

Listening to NPR’s On the Media this weekend, I was struck by a story (first broadcast in 2006) about how certain “sticky” numbers—however dubious—find their way into the media landscape and beyond, as On the Media co-host Brooke Gladstone noted:
“Four years ago, we delved into the mysterious number, said to be 50,000, of child predators [...]

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The Work Speaks—Part 7: Leaky Sink

In April, Conservation Biology published a comment authored by Christopher A. Lepczyk, Nico Dauphiné, David M. Bird, Sheila Conant, Robert J. Cooper, David C. Duffy, Pamela Jo Hatley, Peter P. Marra, Elizabeth Stone, and Stanley A. Temple. In it, the authors [...]

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Learning Your ABC

According to an AP story posted on MSNBC, city officials in Barre, VT, are considering a leash law for cats—effectively prohibiting them from roaming. Such stories tend to vary only in their specifics; quotes from embattled citizens, and feline references that are more dismissive than clever (e.g., in Barre, the debate “sparked a hissing match”) [...]

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The Work Speaks—Part 6: Pain by Numbers

In April, Conservation Biology published a comment authored by Christopher A. Lepczyk, Nico Dauphiné, David M. Bird, Sheila Conant, Robert J. Cooper, David C. Duffy, Pamela Jo Hatley, Peter P. Marra, Elizabeth Stone, and Stanley A. Temple. In it, the authors “applaud the recent essay by Longcore et [...]

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