The Effect of Cats and Dogs on Bird Distribution
Keywords:Predation of cats, fear effect of cats, cat-bird interactions, dog-bird interactions
Cats and dogs are very common pets in Greece and especially cats, are commonly allowed to roam freely and even become feral. This was thought to have detrimental effects on wildlife, especially birds. I evaluated whether cats and dogs affect the distribution of birds in the north-eastern provinces of Athens. Different areas were sampled and analyzed to determine if areas with different densities of dogs and cats have different densities of birds. Dogs,
showed to not impact any bird species apart from Blackbirds which were surprisingly positively correlated with dogs. On the other hand, cats seem to impact Sardinian warblers and blackbirds negatively. Areas with more cats seemed to have a lower number of these two avian species. These findings support that cats can impact wild bird populations and that owners need to be responsible, while it shows no evidence to support that dogs can do the
same. However, in this study there were not enough samples to statistically analyze the impact of these two animals on all bird species, while there were also no samples from different natural habitats other than dry Mediterranean bushland with few trees such as pine trees, olive trees and deciduous trees found in gardens.
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