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Richard, please don't make up your own stories about what I think or do. 
  Thanks.

Here's what I know that makes me skeptical of this and other similar 
articles.  First, any naturalist will tell you there's far, far more 
damage done to ground-nesting birds in both woods and fields by coyotes, 
foxes, racoons and other small to medium-sized predators and omnivores 
whose population is way too high because of the absence of top 
predators, like wolves, to keep their numbers down.

It isn't primarily nest-sitting birds that are killed, it's eggs, and 
when nests are destroyed, birds often don't come back to try again. 
These wild critters love eggs and seek them out.  They destroy far more 
ground nests than any cat, which unlike them, typically have no idea 
what to do with an egg.  I used to know and work with several refuge 
managers for small suburban refuges, and none of them ever mentioned 
their not uncommon cat visitors as a problem, but became apoplectic on 
the subject of dogs, which trample nests out of curiosity more than 
actually eat eggs, and egg-eating raccoons, etc.

I intensely dislike killing things, even spiders in my kitchen and wasps 
nesting over my door.  But there comes a point when it's them or me, and 
I'm afraid I choose me.  (I have it on fairly good third-hand authority, 
btw, that even the Dalai Lama's household is unkind to mice.  I asked 
because I remain troubled about the issue.)  Yes, mice are pests when 
they chew their way into your house and cupboards and leave their feces 
all over your kitchen and pantry or chew holes in your potato crop 
before it's even harvested.

Urban sprawl and forest fragmentation, I whole-heartedly agree, is the 
major problem here.  But it's not because of housecats, it's primarily 
from the devastation of the habitat itself, secondly the presence of 
coyotes and raccoons attracted to human garbage.

We can argue all day about cats, but articles like this BBC one are just 
not honest in their attempt to portray housecats as having a devastating 
effect on "wildlife," which conjures up horrible images, but then not 
telling you until the very end that they're talking about mice and other 
creatures so abundant and with such a reproduction rate that it would 
take 100 times as many cats as there are now roaming around to make a 
dent in them, and then that it's feral cats that do the most damage 
anyway.  That's called "burying the lead" in journalism, and it's not 
being straight with readers.

What this kind of thing does, IMO, is let us in our too easy anger at 
very visible cats forget about the things that are doing the real 
damage-- as you say, human development and forest fragmentation, which 
would be just as devastating even if there were no cats at all.  Far 
more damage is done to bird populations by cowbirds allowed in by forest 
fragmentation, not to mention the rapidly shrinking winter habitat and 
staging areas along the way for migratory birds.

As for prey for hawks and owls, it's coyotes and foxes that do the most 
damage there, though still not enough to make very much of a dent. You 
might find it interesting to look up what's happened at Yellowstone 
since they introduced wolves and the populations of both those smaller 
predators dropped way down.  Among other things, yes, the hawks came 
back, and also the nesting habitat for birds that had been destroyed by 
deer browsing.

They've seen the same thing at Plum Island in Mass., where for a while 
wintering Rough-Legged hawk numbers dropped dramatically when both 
coyotes and foxes, I think, moved in and the refuge staff held off on 
killing them because of public distaste for the idea.  There were no 
cats in either place.

Also, the primary mouse and vole-eating raptors in this country have 
stable or increasing populations, with only two exceptions that I know 
of, one being the Ferruginous Hawk out west, the one that came back to 
Yellowstone, and the Kestrel.  Neither one is in trouble because of food 
insufficiency.

I've also seen very vividly here that when the local hunters go on one 
of their periodic coyote slaughtering parties, the population of both 
rabbits and voles absolutely explodes for a year or so until the coyotes 
build their numbers up again.

Against all this, cat predation is insignificant, if we're talking about 
actual effects on populations.

By all means, do what you can to get neighbors to keep their cats in 
where you're having a problem, or even work for a city ordinance.  I'd 
help you.  I wouldn't have a cat that needs to be outdoors in the city 
or even most suburbs.  But it really does seem to me the issue is 
someone's desire to have unmolested feeder birds to watch versus the 
neighbor's desire to let his cat spend time outdoors.  That's a volatile 
issue, but it isn't a conservation issue.

I looked up, by the way, endangered species of rabbits and other rodents 
in North America, and couldn't find one where cat predation was cited as 
even worth mentioning.  If there are places where it is, I'd favor some 
kind of vigorous local, state or even federal action to restrict, trap 
and remove, or even ultimately kill cats.

All I'm arguing for here is that we look maybe more calmly at the facts. 
  Those are the relevant facts that I know of.  Given all those things, 
I'm more than a little bit skeptical of the scare stories that pop up 
periodically, especially because they tend to be published, as this one 
was, as scare stories and not reasoned ecological discussions and the 
role cats may or may not play in them.

Jane