Clever invention saves hundreds of thousands of birds

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Clever invention saves hundreds of thousands of birds
The Birdsbesafe® collar slides overtop of a cat’s existing breakaway collar. The snag-and-release design protects any cat who wears it, while the bright colored fabric protects any of the cat’s potential winged victims! Photo courtesy of Birdsbesafe®.

How one woman’s creative invention is saving the lives of birds across the globe.

It’s estimated that over a billion birds are killed by cats every year. Troubled by this number – and by the large amount of birds her own feline, George, was bringing home – avid birder Nancy Brennan decided to do something about it. In 2008, after George showed up with a ruffed grouse in his mouth, she began brainstorming ways to protect winged wildlife without locking up her furry friend, who’d grown accustomed to playing outdoors.

Remembering that it’s easy for birds to spot bright colors, Brennan grabbed the brightest colored fabric she could find, and crafted a unique new collar for George. After a week of wearing this scrunchie-like garment, George didn’t bring home any birds. A short while later, she knew that her invention was a success, and began selling the Birdsbesafe® collar to other cat parents.

In 2015, ornithologist and St. Lawrence University profession S.K. Willson heard of Birdsbesafe® and decided to test it. Over the course of 12 weeks, she was able to prove that cats wearing this collar killed 19 times fewer birds than those who did not. This study was published in the Global Ecology and Conservation journal, and Brennan now delivers to customers all over the world.