Songbird populations have dropped drastically over the last few decades. I can only imagine the number and variety of birds that would have been seen in may parents’ neighborhoods when they were children.
These declines are attributed to many factors: city lights, reflective windows, pesticide use in summer and winter ranges, changing farming practices and even wind turbines.
It seems that you may (or I) may be in control of a significant factor in songbird declines.
From the June 2011 BirdWatching Magazine:
Catbirds losing battle to cats: Study finds cats taking big toll on fledglings
Research conducted in the summer of 2004 in three suburban neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C., metro area and published in January 2011 confirms what many bird conservationists and birdwatchers have been saying for years: Free-roaming cats are major predators of songbirds.
Read the rest of the article here. It’s near the bottom of the page.
I’ve been reading about this problem for some time. I became acutely aware of this problem with my own cat, Robert. I once stood at a window observing a large hawk that was observing our cooped flock of chickens. Out of nowhere Robert pounced on the hawk. They rolled once or twice and the hawk took off like a shot. Another time I was building a small fire in a firepit. A sparrow flew over the fire about a foot from my face. Robert lept and nailed that bird right at my nose. We ran him down and released the bird. I can only imagine what hunting successes he had when we weren’t watching.
Robert passed away last year and is missed. A new cat, Kevin (or Franklin) has come to visit. He is a confirmed indoor cat, a designation that he rebels against. The designation was a condition for living with us. He seems satisfied watching the garden birds from the windows.