Keitt, B. S., Wilcox, C., Tershy, B. R., Croll, D. A., & Donlan, C. J. (2002). The effect of feral cats on the population viability of black‐vented shearwaters (Puffinus opisthomelas) on Natividad Island, Mexico. Animal Conservation, 5(3), 217-223.
Insular breeding seabirds are likely to be particularly vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators because they often lack behavioural, morphological and life-history defenses against predation. We studied the life-history of the black-vented shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas) on Natividad Island, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to examine its vulnerability to introduced feral cats. Using an allometric equation, we estimated that feral cats consumed 328 g of food day-1 to satisfy their nutritional requirements. We used stable isotope analysis of cat scat to estimate that 90% of the cats' diet was composed of shearwaters. Using data from our focal species and from the closely related manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), we created a demographic model to evaluate the effects of cat population size on the annual growth rate (λ) of the shearwater. The annual growth rate for black-vented shearwaters was estimated to be 1.006 in the absence of cat predation. With predation, we estimated that annual growth rate declined approximately 5% for every 20 cats in a population of 150,000 birds. Persistence times of bird colonies decreased both with an increase in the size of the feral cat population and with a decrease in the size of the initial bird population.