I lost another bird, a goldfinch this time, to one of the cats. Watching her play with the poor, dead thing made me immensely unhappy and started me on a guilt cycle once again, especially remembering the angry, anonymous comment on my blog a few months ago when I was so upset about the number of birds Ranger was then catching. Presumably a birder.
Then I got to thinking a bit more. It's so easy to get mad at cats for catching and killing birds, but ultimately it's not cats that are responsible for the massive decline in bird populations. It's people. As a species ourselves, we destroy millions upon millions of acres of habitat to build shopping malls, homes and to plant crops.
Even those few acres that could be managed to provide good habitat for other species, our yards, parks and landscapes, are usually planted with exotic species useless for insect food (insects being the primary bird food), saturated with insecticides to further decrease the insect populations, and then groomed to resemble sterile plastic.
If birders want to get mad about something, they should get mad about habitat loss...and then actually start doing something about it. Habitat loss is the real "bogeyman" here, but working to stop that is much harder than just bitching about your neighbor's cat(s).
So, folks, I challenge you to put your efforts where your hearts are. Quit using insecticides. Plant native plants. Welcome the insects in your landscapes. Leave some areas in your yard wild. Quit worrying about "perfect" lawns. Then we'll see if we need to be quite so obsessed with roaming pet cats.