Cats are natural predators. Dogs love to chase.
We all know that wild birds and cats don’t mix very well. Although cats would prefer to chase mice, there aren’t as many mice around our homes as there are birds. Thousands of birds are caught by cats every year (some birds are caught by dogs, too).
Most of us are not ready to give up our cats (or dogs), but there are some things we can do to lessen their impact on the wild birds we enjoy having in our yards and at our feeders:
If you have a bird feeder: hang it in an area where the ground beneath and nearby is open with no places for cats to hide; keep it close enough to trees or bushes so birds can hide when a hunting hawk dives on them; sweep up fallen seed from the area beneath the feeder to keep birds from feeding on the ground where they are most vulnerable; removing fallen seed (along with keeping feeders washed and clean) will help prevent transmission of any possible disease.
Bells on cats don’t help much, but they do help some. The bigger and louder the better.
If you are aware of birds nesting in your yard, try keeping your cats in for a few days when the babies are fledging (leaving the nest). It takes baby birds a day or two to get their flying skills up to par.
Dogs can be trained to “leave wildlife alone.” Contact Angie Tapley in the Inyo-Mono area for information on classes at (760) 937-5772.