In this post I am going to touch on a contentious topic for some people and as I am completely not wishing to offend anybody here is a little warning to cat lovers and owners out there; basically I think cats are completely inappropriate pets in Australia because of the destruction they cause to our native wildlife… there! That said lets look at some pretty pictures of native birds in a beautiful suburban habitat garden!
In the image below you can see a pair of musk lorikeets drinking and bathing in a Mallee Dish raised 500mm off the ground.
If you are like me and have roaming domestic cats coming into your garden during the day and night to hunt and have territorial fights, it is best to raise your birdbath out of the reach of cats. This ensures that they don’t leave their scent in the water and keep the beautiful native birds away. Birds are very sensitive to predators and will shy away from an area of the garden that they feel may be unsafe.
In the image above you can see a domestic cat drinking from a dish at night, you may not be aware of night feline visitors, according to the article below if cat owners kept their cats inside at night it would reduce their killing rate by 50%.
The image below was taken in my back garden which at the moment is a building site, but I am still getting bird visitors to my birdbaths that are raised off the ground or hanging from trees. Can you spot the night predator in the background? it is one of 4 different domestic cats that come into my garden …. and naturally makes me furious!
Cats should also wear a collar with a bell, or, even better, a sonar beeper that produces high-pitched tones, which doesn’t bother cats, but alerts birds to their presence. Neutering stops cats procreating and makes them less likely to roam and hunt.
There is also a product called a cat bib which has shown to be quite successful in the reduction of kills a cat can make whist wearing it.
To break up this depressing topic please see a beautiful Satin bower having a drink and his female friend below 🙂
I have seen feral cats in the desert and found them utterly revolting and frightening, I realise that domestic cats are on a different level to feral cats however we all live in this beautiful country together:
the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), which runs private conservation reserves across the nation, released a report in December which estimated the impact of the 5-18 million feral cats on native species such as bilbies and numbats.
Each cat takes 5-30 animals a night, says the AWC, so (using a conservative population estimate of 15 million) they conclude that a minimum of 75 million native animals are killed daily. In a country struggling to conserve its unique fauna, the scale of this figure should not be underestimated.
So if you are trying to create a habitat or bird attracting garden where cats are present it is best to raise water out of reach from cats, plant plenty of dense prickly shrubs for birds to hide in and talk to your neighbourhood cat owners about putting in place some precautions to limit hunting in your neighbourhood. Good Luck!