Our latest songbird conservation initiative has officially taken flight!
Birds are incredibly important to the creation and maintenance of ecosystems; they spread seeds, pollinate plants, control insect populations, and in some cases, even create habitat!
In 2013, Environment Canada published a series of papers describing bird mortality from various human activities.
Predation by owned and feral cats causes roughly 100,000,000 to 350,000,000 bird deaths annually.
The amount of birds that die from striking windows each year: 25,000,000. A similar number die from colliding with transmission lines.
Every year, vehicle collisions account for about 14,000,000 bird deaths, communication towers 221,000, and wind energy turbines kill about 45,000.
Domestic cats who go outside are attributed to 80,000,000 of the bird deaths in Canada each year. That is more than the impact on the species from both climate change and habitat destruction.. Combined! Domestic cats have even been attributed to 33 extinctions of bird species after being introduced in island ecosystems.
“80 Million Birds” is an outreach initiative where we discuss the impact that domestic cats have on local wildlife populations. Pet owners, through no fault of their own, generally think that cats are born to be outside. However, cats in our local ecosystems are actually an invasive species, which just means they don’t occur naturally here (were brought in by humans) and have a detrimental effect on local, native species. One that is very, very lethal to local bird populations!
While keeping domestic cats inside is always the best option for songbird conservation, we know that it is not always realistic for some owners. To help remedy that situation in our local environment, the PWA has purchased 250 BirdsBeSafe breakaway collar covers, which we are distributing for free within our local communities (a small donation is always appreciated, of course). These are made of brightly coloured fabric, chosen based on colours which songbirds can easily see. The reflective trim on the collar cover also doubles as a way to keep your cat safe by making them more visible to motorists.
The Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance believes that everyone should go the extra mile when delivering awareness campaigns: it is not enough to give someone a statistic, you must then give them the information and tools that can let them make a difference in the situation. We are doing that by making these collar covers readily available to our local communities, so they can make a tangible difference in our local environments.
We currently have a contest running! Upload a picture of your cat with the collar cover & a caption (cat shaming always welcome), and you could win 1 of 3 cat posts & trees from Global Pet Foods NB.
You can find these collars at Global Pet Foods Moncton & Dieppe locations, our wonderful local partners. Hurry in before its too late!
This project has already been featured by the Telegraph-Journal and CBC Radio!
This project was funded by the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, who helped us create outreach materials & pay for the collars.