No cats, dogs allowed in this neighborhood, all for the love of birds

Cat on bird house
Cat on bird house

Pet owners can add another item to their house shopping checklist, should the U.S. decide to follow a British strategy to protect its wild bird population. I love birds, but I also love our cats and would be rather put out to discover that my housing development prohibited cats and dogs.

That's the predicament faced by buyers of homes in a new British 450-house development in Farnsborough, about a half-hour's drive southwest of London.

The development, according to Times Online, is near heathland populated by wild birds. The 32-square miles is protected by the European Union Birds Directive, which requires member countries to create protection zones, maintain and restore habitats, and create biotropes. A total of 181 endangered species were given special protection.

I spoke by phone with Greg Butcher, Director of Bird Conservation for the Audubon Society, who confirmed that "cats and dogs can be a huge hazard to wildlife." However, he didn't feel this kind of ban was a reasonable way to deal with the problem, and wasn't aware of any such measures in the U.S.