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Predation of Newborn Quail by Housecats Can Be Prevented

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June 21, 2011

Predation of Newborn Quail by Housecats Can Be Prevented

By Chad Love

Summertime is here, which of course means that there are a lot of wild animal babies running around. Unfortunately there are also a lot of housecats running around eating them. Each year ground-nesting birds like quail must endure myriad predations of their young by natural enemies like snakes, mammals and other birds. So instead of making the problem worse, why don’t you give the quail a break and keep your fat, precious Smoochy inside this spring, where it belongs...

From this story in the (Prescott Arizona) Daily Courier:
It is heartbreaking to see the numbers of babies diminish over the weeks as quail families frequent your yard. Typically, the first time you see them in your yard, they are "little walnuts on legs." They are so adorable. At first there might be 10, 12 or 15 babies - sometimes even more. However, as they visit your yard over time, you will notice their numbers go down as the babies are lost to a variety of predators - Western scrub-jays, common raven, greater roadrunners, snakes and especially housecats. The sad thing about housecats is that it is so preventable.

Baby quail are defenseless in their ability to get away from cats. Recently hatched baby quail are not capable of flight. Their only defense is camouflage and their ability to run for cover, but it is hard to outrun a cat when you are only an inch or two tall. As the owner of a backyard wild bird store, I field questions from caring, concerned individuals who enjoy attracting wild birds to their yard, but have to contend with a neighbor's cat who is allowed to roam freely. It is interesting how most pet owners wouldn't ever consider letting their dogs roam the neighborhood freely, but don't give a second thought to letting their cats roam freely. It is important to remember that there are both county and city ordinances that prohibit pet owners from allowing their domestic animals to roam freely, be they dogs or cats.

Or better yet, just lose the cat altogether and get a real pet. Like a dog. Any sporting breed will do...

Comments (8)

Top Rated
All Comments
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Just shoot all the housecats and all will be well.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bass bomber wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

If you make a law so that cats have to be kept inside thta would help birds because of less predaors and it would help the cats because they would live longer. I have some cats but I never let them outside.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

House cats = mobile .22 targets

Bubba

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dukkillr wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

WAM,
From what Happy says about his cat, I expect it would spit the bullet back at you...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

If I saw a feral house cat our where I hunt in Unit 34, that'd be it for the cat. Nothing personal, I like cats as much as the next average guy. But I like my quail hunting areas too.

Fortunately, house cats are ideal prey for coyotes.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

A local shelter was promoting itself on tending to and releasing feral cats. A couple of people left scathing remarks to the news article, noting that cats have huge negative impacts on song bird populations. The ignorance of the general public was more than apparent from the many responses in support of the shelter's activities. My neighbors complained about the noticeable decrease in songbirds while letting their house cats run free. A bit hypocritical?

I like songbirds but am even more partial to quail. The call of a bobwhite is one of the sweetest sounds in the wild.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

I actually like cats, even though I'm a dog person, but I just hate the arrogance of cat people. They will never admit that Fluffy is a serious serial killer that is truly hurting the local ecosystem. They also scream at the idea that they might have to reign Fluffy in, as if they and their cat take priority over all local wild species.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Domestic Cats are born killers, they torture their prey before finally killing it, often then they do not eat it.
A pox on anyone who allows their cat to roam freely.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

Just shoot all the housecats and all will be well.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

If I saw a feral house cat our where I hunt in Unit 34, that'd be it for the cat. Nothing personal, I like cats as much as the next average guy. But I like my quail hunting areas too.

Fortunately, house cats are ideal prey for coyotes.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

House cats = mobile .22 targets

Bubba

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

A local shelter was promoting itself on tending to and releasing feral cats. A couple of people left scathing remarks to the news article, noting that cats have huge negative impacts on song bird populations. The ignorance of the general public was more than apparent from the many responses in support of the shelter's activities. My neighbors complained about the noticeable decrease in songbirds while letting their house cats run free. A bit hypocritical?

I like songbirds but am even more partial to quail. The call of a bobwhite is one of the sweetest sounds in the wild.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bass bomber wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

If you make a law so that cats have to be kept inside thta would help birds because of less predaors and it would help the cats because they would live longer. I have some cats but I never let them outside.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dukkillr wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

WAM,
From what Happy says about his cat, I expect it would spit the bullet back at you...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 43 weeks ago

I actually like cats, even though I'm a dog person, but I just hate the arrogance of cat people. They will never admit that Fluffy is a serious serial killer that is truly hurting the local ecosystem. They also scream at the idea that they might have to reign Fluffy in, as if they and their cat take priority over all local wild species.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Domestic Cats are born killers, they torture their prey before finally killing it, often then they do not eat it.
A pox on anyone who allows their cat to roam freely.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment