Volunteer bird surveyors needed for cat predation study
The domestic cat is the most popular companion animal in Britain, with an estimated population of 9 million free-ranging pets. Unlike feral cats, the abundance of free-ranging pets is not linked to prey abundance and, as a result, they can reach very high densities (>100 cats/km2). Consequently, even if each individual pet kills only a small number of prey animals each year, the collective number killed by all cats can be substantial. Cat predation has, therefore, been implicated as a potentially significant factor negatively affecting wild bird populations. Unfortunately, there are few data to substantiate or refute this claim.
This project aims to redress this lack of information by comparing the number of prey animals killed by pet cats within selected 1-km squares within Reading with estimates of pre-breeding bird density and productivity as a first step in assessing whether cat predation appears to be important or not.
How you can help
I am looking for volunteers who would be able to survey breeding birds in one or more 1-km squares within the urban area of Reading during 2007. Surveys will be conducted in accordance with the BTO?s Breeding Bird Survey methodology.
If you would like to participate in this project, or would like further information, my contact details are:
Dr Phil Baker
School of Biological Sciences
University of Reading
Tel: 0118 378 4566
Phil Baker –