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Fall Migration and Risks to Birds

Fall Migration and Risks to Birds

Today, in Vermont, we are past our peak foliage color display, and the first snow fell in the White Mountains last night in nearby NH. Many species of birds have already migrated through, on their way to wintering locations to the south.

A few weeks ago, we saw this unidentified Thrush species, with a few other birds, grazing over a period of days as they fed for the long flights to come. And today, there were Dark-eyed Juncos and a small flock of these Sparrows.

Which brings us to the topic of cats, Birdsbesafe collar covers, and fall migration patterns. When birds feed in small flocks, and spend more time on the ground, they are more vulnerable to cats hunting them.

Birdsbesafe cat collar covers are highly effective at protecting most birds, most of the time, but protecting in the fall, in North America, is a little more difficult. The U.S. field study conducted by St. Lawrence University in upstate New York found a lesser rate of effectiveness in the fall (about 70% reduction in birds) compared to spring (about 95%). So, we know there is more risk. (Read more here.)

We, at Birdsbesafe LLC, think that the cause is increased feeding time on the ground, in yards, in the fall. Perhaps a secondary cause is some matching of our products' colors to fall foliage. We are looking forward to some minor modifications that may help with this.

But what you can do, meanwhile, is check your yard for high levels of bird feeding activity in the fall--and restrict your cat's access if you can. Perhaps your cat could use a cat harness and leash a few weeks out of the year. Or use a litter box for a few weeks. Or at least limit the cat's time outdoors.

Birdsbesafe collar covers are a great bird-protecting tool, but nature is complex and our products are not, alas, 100% effective. They can protect most birds, which gives you options.

Thank you for caring about cats and birds! Together, we have made the difference for many, many birds!