Charity Urges Public to seek Urgent Help if they find a Bird with Ticks attached.

Great Tit with a Tick attached to the back of its head.

Care Staff at East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) are asking members of the public who find poorly wild birds with ticks on them to seek urgent help in order to help save the birds lives.

“Ticks on birds can be fatal if left alone” said Trevor Weeks MBE founder of WRAS, “mammals cope much better than birds which need urgent veterinary help to both remove safely the ticks but also more importantly to get the right medication in order to treat the effects of the tick bite.”

Ticks can grow up to the size of a large garden pea and are generally a brown or greyish colour which varies in shade depending on how much blood they have ingested. Ticks carry various zoonotic pathogens and although it is common that we find then on a wide variety of wild mammals, it is not as common to find them on birds, however the effects are much worse.  “Where mammals generally manage to cope fairly well with the odd tick on them, birds even with just one tick can find the effects extremely debilitating and life threatening” said Trevor.

“Over the past few weeks we have seen great tits, greenfinches, doves, pigeons and other garden birds admitted with ticks attached to their heads and bodies” explained Lead Casualty Manager Katie Nunn Nash, “ they are all lethargic, eyes closed, often with severe bruises around their heads. Sometimes they are struggling to keep their heads up.  People often say they look like they have collided with a window and got black eyes as a result, especially if they can’t see the hidden ticks. If we can get antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication started as soon as possible then we at least stand a chance of successfully treating them. ”

Getting them treatment urgent is really important so WRAS takes these cases very seriously, and will attempt to get them admitted for care as soon as possible.

WRAS is urging anyone who finds a garden bird with ticks on to contact the East Sussex WRAS on 07815-078234 or their local wildlife rescue as soon as possible so they stand a better chance of survival.

Anyone picking up a wild bird or mammal is advised to wear gloves or use a cloth when picking up such animals or birds.

A dove recovered from being bitten by Ticks.
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3 thoughts on “Charity Urges Public to seek Urgent Help if they find a Bird with Ticks attached.

  1. L Raven

    I found a Dove last night, its head was dropping and tucking under its belly, it was clearly in pain, wobbling around and couldn't walk. I caught it (with ease, poor thing was so sleepy) and took it to my local animal rescue centre, who found a tick on the poor thing's head that had caused such strange characteristics.

    It looked drunk, poisoned, or like its neck was broken, so look out for those signs and take them to a local sanctuary/rescue. They wouldn't survive without help, especially considering how many people have cats and let them roam free now!


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