Regarding Michael Parr’s Sept. 20 Friday Opinion essay, “Helping our disappearing birds”:

I grew up in the 1960s in Northern Virginia near Seven Corners. Every day, during the spring, summer and fall, I used to hear the clear, ringing whistle of bobwhite quail. You could hear the call from half a mile away. At night when temperatures would allow it, we would sleep with the windows open and hear the song of whippoorwills, a forest ground bird, in our backyard. I cannot remember the last time I heard either. 

My family is as much to blame as any. We had cats, and, if they stayed out at night, we did not think anything of it. In the years since, I have seen many stray cats in the neighborhoods I have lived in. I am sure many people who move from the area and decide it too inconvenient to take their pet simply drop them off in neighborhoods where they think the animal will be adopted. This leaves the cat to fend for itself and leads to many birds being killed.

People need to realize their cats are perfect little killing machines. They are reproducing, and they are everywhere. All adult cats need to be spayed or neutered. Otherwise, we will continue to lose our ground-nesting birds. When was the last time you heard Thoreau’s wood thrush?

Blair Caviness, Washington