Editor: I read with interest the article written by Sara Wittenberg dated May 2, 2013, entitled “Hollow Victory: Mine claim markers still killing birds, four years after ban put into effect.” In it, she shares some estimates that seem astounding: roughly a million birds a year killed by these hollow mine claim markers!

This got me to thinking about a statistic that I had heard some time back. I found an article in USA Today that quotes biologists who are conducting a study of birds killed by “predators, chemicals, and in collisions with wind generators and windows.” The study is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Peter Marra, one of the study’s authors and an ornithologist from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, said:

“Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats cause substantially greater wildlife mortality than previously thought and are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for U.S. birds and mammals.”

Cats! To the tune of 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds killed each and every year in the U.S. alone! It makes an old mine claim marker sound pretty benign by comparison.

Simply put, cats are predators and are pretty good at catching and killing birds — to the tune of 3.8 to 10 million birds each and every day in the United States.

Now, I’m not going to get into an argument over what to actually do about this particular issue. I don’t want to get between cat lovers and bird lovers. I would simply like to point out that this is what predators do to prey. This is how the natural world works. If we, as humans and as stewards over the land, feel a need to create an environment where a prey species is to thrive and grow in population, then the simplest and most effective method to doing this is to monitor and control the predator population.

That is why I support what the Elko County Commissioners are sponsoring at the Devil’s Gate Ranch in regards to increasing the sage grouse population there. As well intended as they may be, any other effort to protect sage grouse will surely fail as long as there is an overabundance of predators in relation to the prey.

Tyler Livingstone

Ruby Valley

(4) comments


Another arm chair Biologist. Ill bet Elko County has more Biologists in one County than NASA has Scientists.


I never claimed to be a biologist. I just read what was published in a peer reviewed professional publication. Does this not qualify as credible in your opinion? This article was a review of several studies done by other biologiss in other professional publications. There is a consensus of opinion among them. If you don't share my opinion, why don't you dig up some information and present it in a constructive manner and convince me that I am wrong?


What publications? please do tell. Who are the biologist in those publications? Let me guess the hole in the wall gang.

Just a thought but why don't you contact the Biologists at NDOW , or do they not count?


By the way, buy a hunting license and donate to the predator program, this would give you more credibility.

You sound like the other crack pots over in Elko County.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.