Cat predation of birds > Citizen Science
Feral Cat Blog! Note: It is important that all be aware of information related to owned cat and freeroaming cat issues. One aspect is that credible and unbiased research is needed. And all "research" needs critical analysis!
Environmental Management - July 2012
Volume 50, Number 1 (2012), 11-20, DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9866-x
Natural History Traits Associated with Detecting Mortality Within Residential Bird Communities: Can Citizen Science Provide Insights?
Caren Beth Cooper, Kerrie Anne Therese Loyd, Tessa Murante, Matthew Savoca and Janis Dickinson
Cat predation of birds in residential landscapes is ephemeral, unpredictable, and spatially dispersed, and thus requires many person-hours to observe. We sought to identify whether specific behaviors, traits, or feeding ecologies of birds contribute to their probability of cat-caused mortality around residences across temperate North America. In addressing this question, we evaluated citizen science data with respect to peer-reviewed species accounts (Birds of North America, BNA). Using information on cat predation from the BNA, we found that species that glean their prey from the ground or breed in nest boxes were three times more likely to be depredated by cats, while birds that hawk were over two times less likely to become cat prey than would be predicted by random chance. Data from citizen science sources also showed that birds using nest boxes had increased susceptibility to cat predation, as did those that use feeders and that glean from foliage. We caution that observations of predation by citizen science volunteers may be biased towards detection at feeders. Future research should focus on developing volunteer survey techniques for improving estimates of bird mortality rates and sources. Keywords Domestic cat – Predator-prey interactions – Urbanization – Birdfeeders – “My Yard Counts” – “PredatorWatch”
Reference previous Feral Cat Blog! posts and e-mails about Loyd work related to feral or freeroaming cats.