do birds bring ticks to your yard

Birds play an underrecognized role in spreading tick-borne disease due to their capacity for long-distance travel and tendency to split their time in different parts of the world – patterns that are shifting due to climate change.

Knowing which bird species are able to infect ticks with pathogens can help scientists predict where tick-borne diseases might emerge and pose a health risk to people.

A new study published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography used machine learning to identify bird species with the potential to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) to feeding ticks.

The team developed a model that identified birds known to spread Lyme disease with 80% accuracy and flagged 21 new species that should be prioritized for surveillance.

Lead author Daniel Becker, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University, says, “We know birds can infect ticks with the Lyme bacterium; however, until now, no one has systematically studied the ecological and evolutionary drivers that influence which bird species are most likely to host and spread Borrelia burgdorferi on a global scale. We set out to fill this gap by identifying traits of bird species that are most likely to pass Lyme to feeding ticks.”

Senior author Barbara Han, a disease ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, says, “To predict and monitor species that could spread tick-borne diseases to people, we first need to know which traits make certain animals good pathogen hosts. Here, we used machine learning to assess bird species traits, paired with Lyme infection data from ticks found on birds, to predict bird species that have the potential to spread Lyme.”

Across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania

For this investigation, the researchers looked through published literature to find studies that described ticks found feeding on birds having Lyme disease. 102 studies with data from ticks found on 183 bird species were found through the global search; 91 of these carried ticks that tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi. Because these bird species are known to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi to feeding ticks, they are regarded as “competent” reservoir species. The species that have been flagged are widespread, occurring in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

Next, 4691 different bird species’ traits were compared to those of competent bird species using machine learning. Data comprised geographic information such as migration distance, global dispersal, and maximum elevation, as well as life history characteristics such as diet composition, foraging location, body size, lifespan, reproductive rate, and fledgling age. Additionally, they examined baseline levels of corticosterone, which is a stress hormone that can affect a bird’s susceptibility to infection.

The model identified birds with 80% accuracy that were known to spread Lyme to ticks, and it also identified 2021 new species that should be prioritized for surveillance based on their sharing of traits with known competent species. In addition to being widely dispersed, high-risk species typically have low baseline corticosterone levels, breed and winter at high latitudes and low elevations, and fall on either extreme of the pace-of-life continuum (species that breed late and live longer, or breed early and die young).

Thrushes may hold highest Lyme risk

Turdus species—also referred to as true thrushes—were found to have a noticeably higher probability of competence than other taxa. According to this research, thrushes may be the bird species most at risk of spreading Lyme disease. Birds that feed mainly on seeds and those that forage on the ground, putting them in the path of roving ticks, were also known to have higher competence than passerines, or perching birds.

Finding bird species that are Lyme-competent may directly affect human health. Tick-borne diseases, especially Lyme disease, can be difficult to diagnose. Medical professionals can better diagnose and treat patients by being aware of the areas where ticks and the diseases they carry are spreading.

Many birds are shifting their breeding ranges northward due to climate change. Ticks and infections move into higher latitudes along with birds. Certain bird species now live in cities and suburbs either full-time or occasionally. Tick-borne diseases are more likely to infect locals due to birds that thrive in populated areas, particularly those that are overwintering in these new locations near people.

Bite Back Tick and Mosquito Control is an expert in controlling ticks and mosquitoes with natural methods. The essential oils used in their all-natural sprays are sourced and manufactured in the United States. To reduce the negative effects of their services on the environment while maintaining effective pest control, they place a high priority on the use of natural ingredients. They provide education and resources to help homeowners avoid tick and mosquito infestations in addition to their natural solutions.

Second, March is usually a dry month, so the area around bird feeders has less moisture on it. Ticks and mosquitoes are less likely to breed here as a result.

Lastly, you can clean your bird feeders thoroughly before rehanging them in the fall by taking them down in March. It’s crucial to clean your bird feeders because doing so gets rid of any mold, mildew, or other impurities that may build up over time. These pollutants have the potential to harm birds and draw pests.

Bird feeders can draw ticks and mosquitoes, but they can also foster an environment that is conducive to these pests. Ticks and mosquitoes thrive in moist, shaded areas created by the seeds and other food scraps that are left on the ground near bird feeders.

In conclusion, bird feeders may draw mosquitoes and ticks to your yard, endangering the health of both you and your pets. March is a good time to take down your bird feeders to lessen the chance of drawing these pests. Consider calling a pest control company like Bite Back Tick and Mosquito Control if you’re worried about ticks and mosquitoes on your property so they can help you get rid of these insects from your house and yard.


Can ticks come from birds?

No longer do you have to visit rural areas to find ticks; birds are flying them directly to you.

Does feeding birds attract ticks?

In conclusion, bird feeders can attract ticks and mosquitoes to your property, which can be a health hazard for you and your pets. Taking down your bird feeders in March is an effective way to reduce the likelihood of attracting these pests.

How do you get rid of bird ticks?

Destroy Tick Habitat These insects thrive in moist, shaded areas, so remove brush piles, overgrown plants and long grasses that are ideal for ticks. Proper pruning and keeping grass mowed will keep ticks from getting too comfortable.

What yard bird eats ticks?

DOERING: Native to Africa, guineas are rather awkward, football-shaped birds with a tiny head, and a voracious appetite for ticks. And unlike chickens, guinea fowl won’t peck at your garden greens.