There is no doubt that our windows are having an effect on the survival of birds in the UK including birds of prey. You may have found a stunned bird on the ground which has just collided with a window and moments later been able to release the bird unscathed. Sadly this is not always the case as birds can suffer from breaks, further concussion and detached retinas.
There are no definitive factual figures to give us an idea of how many birds die from window strikes in the UK. The BTO back in 2004 calculated that around 100 million bird strikes happen in the UK each year based on ringed birds found dead near windows. Other studies have been carried out in the US but again only as estimates but whatever the figure birds do collide and die with windows. So why do birds do it and how can we try and avoid it happening? Whilst researching this we found a really interesting article by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, you can check it out here.
Domestic cats also have a big impact on wild bird populations, anyone who owns a cat that spends time outdoors will have been brought gifts before in the shape of birds and other wildlife. Although we have never come across reports of cats catching birds of prey, we try and remind people that cats are not natural predators where as birds of prey are but on countless occasions we have read about birds of prey being to blame for the decline of our wild birds. Again we couldn’t find any facts based on scientific studies into the effects of cats on British bird numbers although a figure from America produced in a report estimated cats kill between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds a year.
We did come across a survey carried out by the Mammal Society which concluded potentially 55 million birds are killed by cats in the UK annually. The advice given for any cat owners is to keep cats indoors at night and to try a bell on the cats collar. You can read the report by the Mammal Society here.
These two issues just highlight the pressures placed on birds of prey and their survival that you might not have realised. We hope in the future more research can be carried out into the exact effects on birds of prey and how they can be addressed.