A group of scientists from the University of Sydney are researching the effects of cats on the behaviour of birds.
Their research, which they have published in the journal Science Advances, has found that cats are less likely to leave their homes when birds are around.
“We found that a significant portion of cats were actively avoiding human presence, but the cats did not move to avoid them,” said Dr Andrew Lees, the lead author of the paper.
“They are not simply running away from humans, they are actively avoiding us.”
In their research, the team used video recordings of a group of birds as they made their way from the house to a feeding site, before moving to the next site and back again.
As a result, the birds were more likely to move towards a predator when there were cats around.
In addition, the group of researchers found that there were significant differences in how cats responded to birds when the birds had been there for several hours.
The researchers found cats were more aggressive when there was a potential predator nearby, and they were more vocal when they had seen a predator approaching, than when they were alone.
Dr Lees said cats were often “scared of” other cats.
“So it’s an interesting finding, but it’s not as though they’re doing anything wrong,” he said.
“If you look at the birds’ behaviour, they’re going around trying to get food, so they’re in the best position to do that.”
Dr Leed said he was also surprised that the birds reacted the same way as cats did to them.
“When you’ve got cats around, they tend to get a bit anxious and then they run away, but if they see the predator, they can be very aggressive,” he explained.
“What we’re trying to do is see if we can make them more aware of their surroundings.”
The study also looked at the effects on the birds of a variety of different cat breeds.
“The cats are not as aggressive when they’re with a pet cat, so we thought we’d try to see if the cats are more aggressive in their interactions with other breeds,” Dr Lees explained.
The team is working on other studies, and hopes to get more cats to participate in future research.
Topics:animal-behaviour,animal-welfare,research,science-and-technology,social-sciences,animal,birds,nsw,australiaFirst posted November 17, 2019 07:03:26Contact Andrew LesMore stories from New South Wales