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Ticks on garden birds

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Old Wednesday 4th September 2019, 17:47   #1
Scopey
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Norfolk
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Ticks on garden birds

Last week we found a male goldfinch who had died and he had a huge tick on the back of his neck.

Today we could see a great tit struggling in the garden - wouldn't fly away when we went up to it. I could see he also had ticks so we caught him and he had four fully engorged ticks on the back of his neck. Sadly, his eyes were all bunged up and he didn't last long after we removed the ticks (we have a tick removal device for this).

I suspect the stress of the tick removal finished him off, but I wondered if any one else in the UK (we are in Norfolk) has seen an increase in ticks on birds this year or is it just a coincidence we have found two this last week?

I also wonder if the great tit was ill and it was then , whilst he lay on the ground, that the ticks took hold of him, so rather than the ticks making him ill, he was ill before hand (if that makes sense).
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Old Thursday 5th September 2019, 06:14   #2
Farnboro John
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It makes perfect sense but I would add that I do not favour this sort of interference. Ticks have to live too...

If you feed birds you are responsible for doing so responsibly and hygienically. That's it. Humans are not responsible for everything that goes "wrong" in the world - are notoriously incompetent at identifying "wrong" - and should keep their fingers out of ecological matters as much as possible. Birds in your garden are not "your" birds: their fate is in the hands of their environment. I hope you left the dead Goldfinch where it was (and the tit for that matter) to provide a meal for a hungry scavenger such as a Magpie.

Sparrowhawks are responsible for sorting out sick Great Tits.

John
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