In 2009, I collected some ticks from some Oregon Juncos and Gambel's White-crowned Sparrows we were banding out in the desert. I have found ticks on birds on other occasions, but I collect them and proceed to lose them. By chance about the same time, I encountered someone who was interested in bird ticks. I contacted him, got a reply, and sent him the ticks. To my surprise, he quickly identified the ticks ("next day delivery") and even sent me some information on them. He asked if he could archive the specimens at the Peabody Museum at Yale University, and I agreed.
So if you collect any bird ticks, you can send them to him. His contact information is Richard G. Robbins, Ph.D., ISD/AFPMB, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001. Phone: (301) 295-8309. FAX: (301) 295-7473. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. URL: http://www.afpmb.org
To send him avian ticks, put the ticks in 70-90% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol in a good sealed vial. Cryo-vials are great. These are the vials used to hold DNA samples. I always keep a handful in my bird banding box. Of course, collect the relevant data: Time, date, location (State, City, specific location), GPS coordinates if you have one, bird species (give genus species), and other information. Put the cryovials into one or more feezer-type Ziploc bags. USPS cannot handle alcohol shipments, regardless of the amount. So you must ship them by other means (FedEx, UPS, etc.) There seems to be at least one private shipping centers in every mall. The shipping address is AFPMB, Fort Detrick, Forest Glen Annex, Building 172, Forney Road, Silver Springs, MD 20910-1230
If he finds a new host record, he will be sure to and happy to publish them with you as a co-author.
I sent him some pictures of an Audubon's Cottontail that I found thoroughly infested with ticks (n >500). The pictures as well as other pictures of ticks are available globally at http://www.afpmb.org/dpmiac/imagedatabase/toplevel.htm. If you go to the main URL above, you will find it is a parasitology site and has materials on other parasitic taxa. The images are excellent.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
After worrying about ticks and Lyme Disease since we
started banding in Zuma Canyon, we had our first documented case of Lyme Disease
among the banders. The bander came out to our 3 Apr 2010 cycle. She
found the tick on her hand Monday morning, went to the doctor who confirmed the
tell-tale sign of Lyme Disease (the red wheel around the bite), and got a
massive dose of antibiotics. Apparently, if it is treated promptly, the
antibiotics do the trick.
I typically collect ticks found on the banders. Upon rechecking these ticks, at least one of them looks like the Ixodes (Deer) tick that carries Lyme Disease. Most of the ticks we find are the Dog Tick (Dermacenter). After posting the incident, others have come forward and indicated that they knew of cases of Lyme Disease from various parts of southern California.
Standard bug spray (DEET) is suppose to work (at least that is what the label says!) Regular tick checks are probably a good idea. My experience has been to find ticks in my townhouse several days or more after my sojourn into the field, so it is obvious I brought the ticks home with me. I am going to try a novel protocol. As soon as I get home, I am going to throw ALL of the clothes I am wearing into the dryer and cook the ticks for 15-20 minutes under high heat. I really don't know if it will help, but at least it makes me feel better.
Below is a link that was passed on to me. The site comes from CT, so bear that in mind. The "wheel" shown on the site is much more massive than I've seen out here, where it is just a thin red wheel.
Last updated on 21 April 2010