Ecology Action Centre’s Cat and Bird Projects

Ecology Action Centre’s Cat and Bird Projects

The Ecology Action Centre recently began two new cats & birds projects in Nova Scotia, both with funding from Environment Canada’s EcoAction and Habitat Stewardship Programs (HSP) Our goal is to build collaboration and partnerships, ensuring the development of a strong and enduring national program.

The EcoAction project is titled Safe in the City: Protecting Urban Birds and Other Wildlife through Community Engagement. This project has a community focus and is working directly with cat owners to help reduce the threats that free roaming cats pose to birds in urban centers. The main objective of this project will be to pilot a community engagement approach in Nova Scotia’s Halifax Regional Municipality. We are also working with urban vets and strengthening conservation partnerships with other urban groups focussed on cats, birds, or other wildlife.

Activities of the ‘Safe in the City’ project have included focus groups, a surveys with community members and cat owners, urban bird walks, a workshop on cat environmental enrichment, and CatCam and GPS opportunities for cats that are interested in showing their humans where they go and what they see. A main focus will be working with cat owners and local community leaders and vets to identify positive ways to help address the issues (e.g., through catios – simple enclosures that help to keep cats and birds safe). We are developing educational material to help raise awareness about the issue of cats and birds and engaging local cat owners and veterinarians in conversations to help reduce injuries to birds by free roaming cats, while also keeping their cats safe in the city.

The HSP project, titled Reducing Bird Mortality by Working with Veterinarians and Cat Welfare Groups, is operating at the provincial level. This project focuses on expanding our Allied Cats program province-wide, and involves outreach that builds and strengthens partnerships with veterinarians, and bird and cat welfare groups, with an aim to highlight the science, the big picture of the issue of cats and birds, with an eye to policy change.

The activities that are ongoing for this project include a provincial extension of our Allied Cats program contacting and meeting with vets to help raise awareness about the science and help identify ways to address the issues by working directly with their cat-owner clientele. We are also doing outreach with bird groups and cat welfare organizations province-wide to help establish a network of organizations working together to help protect cats and birds alike. Presentations about the issue and science are ongoing province-wide, and we are also working on identifying existing cat by-laws in Nova Scotia and beyond to identify opportunities and barriers to behaviour change.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit Ecology Action Centre.