LETTER: A little perspective on cats and their songbird prey


A recent venter was decrying the loss of songbirds to outdoor house cats, and I thought a little perspective might help us all understand nature a little better.

I own two cats, one of whom does not limit herself to merely songbirds. She does her best to provide us with fresh meat nearly every day. We either have that or field mice skittering around in the house. Of the choices, I prefer the cats’ catching the vermin outside.

But the September 2019 issue of “Scientific American” magazine puts a whole new spin on the issue. Cats are the least of the birds’ problems. I quote: “Researchers have known since the 1960s that sharks sometimes eat songbirds. Every fall and spring, songbirds take dramatic migrations across the Gulf of Mexico. If bad weather comes along, they can be forced to land on the water — which is effectively a death sentence. Between 2010 and 2018 scientists found that nearly 40 percent of tiger sharks whose stomachs they opened had recently feasted on birds that hailed from dry land. The estimate for the number of migrants that die because of storm-related events is in the billions. ... Sharks have long taken advantage of this twice-yearly nutritional bounty raining down from the skies, but scientists have only recently had the genetic tools to confirm the menu by identifying partially digested feathers.”

So, what dose our upset venter now recommend?

Cheryl Rowan

St. Albans

Funerals for Sunday, December 8, 2019

Board, Dencil - 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Booher, Hughes - 3 p.m., Maranatha Fellowship, St. Albans.

Carpenter, Homer - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Collins, Jacob - 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Donahue-Moubray, Kathleen - 3 p.m., Haven of Rest Mausoleum, Red House.

Estes, Peggy - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Friel, Ruth - 1 p.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Johnson, Marvin - 1 p.m., High Lawn Mausoleum, Oak Hill.

Linville, Vada - 2 p.m., Orchard Hills Memory Gardens, Yawkey.

Pettit, Michele - 3:30 p.m., Faith Baptist Church, Spencer.

Prue, Margaret - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Scott, Robert - 3 p.m., Capital High School, Charleston.

Smith, Wanda - 3 p.m., Billy Hunt Cemetery, Kettle Road.

Sneed, Virginia - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.