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A life long Missouri hunter earlier this year gave me his explanation.  He said that settlers consisted mainly of subsistence farmers that all hunted to supplement the cattle and crops they raised.  His belief is that until fairly recently the tradition of hunting, especially for raccoons and possums, had kept key predators of ground nesting birds in check.

Bill Blackledge
Smithville Lake, Clinton Co
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------Original Message------
From: Bob Foreman
Sender: Missouri Wild Bird Forum
To: [log in to unmask]
ReplyTo: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Oct 15, 2009 9:11 AM
Subject: Predators and Birds

Ms. Edges comments are right on the mark.  The changes brought on to our
once great grasslands have made predation much easier!

Interestingly, MDC's stomach analysis of coyotes has shown they eat 4% or
less of feathered critters.  On the other hand, free-ranging domestic cats
are on the far end of that spectrum with many bird kills.

Another "problem" for our birds...the social push to end the use of "fur".
 A once vibrant trapping industry is but a small remnant of what it was in
the 40's and 50's.

We are over-run with predators!  Cats, Raccoons, Opossums, Skunks, Bobcat
etc. are everywhere.  Our birds struggle to find suitable habitat and when
they do the predators are waiting.

Excellent point!

Bob Foreman
Smithville, Clay, Missouri

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