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Bird News Roundup: Latest Study On Outdoor Cats Effect On Wild Birds & More

The latest study on the impact of backyard and feral cats on birds and animals says that cats are killing 2.4 billion birds each year. Also, a new study shows how some birds started to see UV light.

Jessica Pineda
Posted: February 11, 2013, 11:30 a.m. PST

Cats & Birds: The Latest Information reports about the latest study from Nature Communications, which claims backyard and feral cats kill small animals and birds at a higher rate than previously thought. The researchers reported that 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion small mammals such as mice, voles, squirrels and rabbits are reportedly killed every year by U.S. cats. Read more here.

By Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio/Courtesy Amy Baggs
A cockatiel's DNA was sequenced in a recent study on which birds seen ultraviolet light.

In New Zealand, Gareth Morgan, a New Zealand businessmen, is calling for “Cats  To Go” to help New Zealand’s native bird population. According to his website, “Every year cats in New Zealand destroy our native wildlife. The fact is that cats have to go if we really care about our environment.” Morgan is asking for New Zealand residents to keep their cats indoors, and to consider not getting another cat when their current pet dies. Read more here.

UV Light v.s. Violet Light In Birds
Depending on the species, a bird can see ultraviolet or violet. Scientists thought that birds developed the ability to see in ultraviolet just once in their lineage, but new researcher shows this occurred at least 14 times in birds’ long history. In a study titled “The phylogenetic distribution of ultraviolet sensitivity in birds,” researchers Anders Ödeen and Olle Håstad sequenced the DNA from 40 species of birds (including a cockatiel) and learned this fact. After studying the proteins that make up the light-sensitive pigments in the bird’s eyes, the researchers were able to determine which birds could see in UV or violet, and how the switch occurred. Read more here.

Read more news here.

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Bird News Roundup: Latest Study On Outdoor Cats Effect On Wild Birds & More

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Reader Comments
I would enact laws preventing the ownership of cats in areas that need to be protected.
Traci, Glendale, OR
Posted: 10/19/2013 3:31:31 PM
Fortunately, we do not have feral cats in our area, but we do have hawks and owls.
janet, henderson, NV
Posted: 2/19/2013 11:43:21 AM
interesting...and this is why my cat is indoors only!
Gabby, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2/11/2013 9:36:53 PM
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