Blame it on cats suggests Melnick

House cats, not crows, are decimating the local songbird population, said Elizabeth Melnick, who operates Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre near Downes Road in Abbotsford.

She weighed into the recent controversy about culling crows due to their propensity to kill young songbirds.

Melnick said she’s opposed.

Cats injure about 80 to 90 per cent of the song birds in Abbotsford, said Melnick, who tries to save a lot of the tattered and mutilated feathered victims.

Many people have no comprehension how much damage cats are doing to the local wildlife, she said.

The logic that cats killing birds are simply a display of “nature” at work is a thoroughly bad argument in Melnick’s opinion.

For one thing, house cats are not an indigenous animal in North America; they are an introduced species wreaking havoc in the birds’ natural habitat, because of the human owners giving them free roaming privileges.

Therefore, people who don’t keep their cats indoors are ultimately responsible for the decline in the songbird population, Melnick said.

She’s “not anti-kitty, nor anti-people,” she said, adding that she loves cats just like everyone else and has nursed many injured kittens and rescued them from the brink of death.

“But, people have to control their kitties and keep them indoors,” Melnick said.

Most cats are typically well-fed and cared for at home, but will hunt birds and rabbits and other wildlife when they are outdoors simply for the sport, fun and entertainment of the killing, she said.

They play with their prey, she said, noting that a bacteria in a cat’s mouth causes injured wildlife to suffer a slow horrendous death from the wounds.

Songbirds often have little chance against the wiry feline.

Melnick is trying to educate the public.

Young songbirds– such as robins, sparrows and swallows – are very vulnerable to being killed by cats when they first leave their nests.

It’s normal for baby birds to fall to the ground from their nests, Melnick said, and then the young birds’ parents teach them to fly from the ground up.

But, many are killed by cats before they can take to the skies, she said.

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