22 February 2016

Another Stormie falls prey to a French cat

The weather continues to put a damper on any real mist-netting plans, but there's stil the occasional interesting bird to keep us happy. We were glad to hear last week that a Short-eared Owl that had been picked up in November with a badly-injured wing was almost ready for release, having been cared for by the guys at the Screech Owl Sanctuary. So this female was ringed before release, along with a Barn Owl and two Tawny Owls, so here's hoping we meet them again in happier circumstances!

We also received news today of a couple of our Lizard-ringed Storm Petrels that had been found in France. A bird we ringed on 17th June 2015 was recaught by French ringers just two days later on Ile de Bannec, 173km from Cornwall. Sadly though, a bird ringed in August 2013 was killed by a cat on Ile de Molene, which lies very close to Ile de Bannec. This is the third of our Storm Petrels killed by a cat on the island, so it is rather worrying to think how many other birds are being killed!

We asked Bernard Cadiou in France for some extra info on the problem and he replied: "In 1999 only 18 corpses have been found, but predation increase since 2007 with less than 100 birds killed per year, and since 2013 with about 300 birds killed per year!

The total is now around 1500 petrels killed by cats, mainly wandering prebreeders.

A first campaign of cat control with sterilization was launched in 2011 by the Iroise Natural Marine Park, but unfortunately nothing else was done since then."

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