Thursday, June 02, 2011

Coyotes are a Birds Best Friend

Researchers have found that areas with the most coyotes had the fewest cats and the most songbirds.

The reason for this is pretty simple: Coyotes prey on cats, raccoons and possums, all of which prey on songbirds and songbird nests. Feral and domestic cats alone kill over three billion birds and small mammals each year in the U.S.!


seeker said...

Ah, so do JRTs! Of course, Ms Bridget also enjoys the occasional Grackel and White wing Dove from the water bowl, not to mention any baby birds that will fall from our Pecan Tree. She always gains weight in the spring.

Debi and the TX JRTs

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

The urban Foxes in london mean you never see the feral cats we used to have. Shame, I preferred them.

Anonymous said...

Care to cite your source, Paddy?

PBurns said...

Sure. Lots of sources on this, I wrote this post in 2006 and never posted and put it up as I was racing out the door, but a Google for "coyote" and "meso-predator" will get you here >> .... "The Rise of the Mesopredator" in which the author notes:
"Apex predators have experienced catastrophic declines throughout the world as a result of human persecution and habitat loss. These collapses in top predator populations are commonly associated with dramatic increases in the abundance of smaller predators. Known as “mesopredator release,” this trophic interaction has been recorded across a range of communities and ecosystems. Mesopredator outbreaks often lead to declining prey populations, sometimes destabilizing communities and driving local extinctions."

More here >>

More here >> ... Quoting Michael Soule and Kevin Crooks with good little graphic of coyote-cat-bird: "In the absence of coyotes, mesopredators (medium-sized predators including striped skunks, raccoons, gray fox, domestic cat and opossum) increased in abundance and depressed the abundance of native birds, often to the point where local extinctions occurred or were inevitable."

Even more on mesopredator release with cool graphic from BioScience >>