As a bird lover, have you ever once wondered if crows eat ticks? You’ve probably seen a crow eating other insects before, so that you might have a better idea.
The truth is that they do eat ticks! To prove this, look at the facts and see what we can find out in this article.
To understand them better, we’ll start with some background information on why these birds have a knack for eating these arachnids.
Then, we’ll look into how they hunt for these ticks. Finally, we’ll discuss why it’s beneficial for crows to keep hunting for these creatures.
By understanding all sides of these ideas, you will better know whether crows eat ticks. Let’s begin!
What Makes Ticks a Good Prey to Crows?
Omnivorous crows eat almost anything that comes their way. This means they eat everything from plants to insects because they love hunting for ticks. Let us find out what ticks are and how they became a crow’s favorite meal.
Ticks are small bugs and bloodsuckers. They are found almost everywhere, from trees to bushes and the ground, which is why crows can easily find them without searching hard for them despite the size of a pin’s head.
Larger-sized ticks such as engorged ones can be more attractive to crows. However, the size does not affect how parasitic they can become to other animals.
Luckily, these crows can act as saviors to the infected opossums, squirrels, deer, raccoons, cows, and other grazing animals, which will be discussed later.
Another thing that makes ticks a favorite of the crows and other birds is that they can serve as healthy food sources. It’s because they are rich in protein since they are bloodsuckers.
In addition, they are important and have strong links in the food chain. These ticks take nutrients from their large hosts that typically rank high in the food chain. Finally, this nourishment collected by the ticks can be transferred down to organisms that consume them.
What Kinds of Ticks do Crows Eat?
There are many kinds of ticks living and roaming around various potential hosts. They are likely to feed on these ticks that live in larger animals’ bodies, such as deers, cattle, and horses.
Here are the most abundant types of ticks that crows usually feed on, and we’ll get into them one by one.
Black-legged (Deer Tick)
Deer Ticks are one of the most prevalent ticks in the United States. Adults can only grow as small as a sesame seed.
Their appearance is reddish with thin mouthparts and black dorsal shields. These tiny bugs have been notorious since the year 1975.
They were the ones responsible for the birth of Lyme disease on deers.
Winter Tick (Moose Tick)
The male adult Winter Ticks are brown with white back patterns, while the females are reddish-brown with whitish shields on the back.
They thrive in various habitats, but their best host is the moose. These ticks can be removed with proper grooming. However, it does not work with moose, making them a host to thousands of winter ticks.
Lone Star Tick
Lone Star Ticks are mostly found in dense woodlands and the resting areas of animals.
On the other hand, female Lone Star ticks have a white dot in their brown body’s center, while the males have white pigment spots on their outer edge.
Where do Crows Find Ticks?
Parasitic ticks are usually found where their hosts live and roam. They populate grassy, wooded, and elevated areas. Additionally, ticks crawl and suck their victim’s blood, usually rodents, moose, deers, rabbits, and more.
With that in mind, crows can also be found anywhere, so their chance of encountering each other is high.
Common Places Where Crows can Encounter Ticks
- Large shrubs
- Moist stone walls
- Grassy and wooded areas
- Bird feeders (what a coincidence!)
Aside from that, some ticks thrive in warmer temperatures during the summer and spring months. This is also when most crows actively search for food and roam around.
Next is ticks are not mobile creatures, making them easy for crows. They cannot drop from shrubs, fly, or jump to escape predators.
However, they can easily attach themselves to their deer or horse hosts to feed off them, but this isn’t a problem for the crows. The crows can help these animals get rid of them by symbiotic cleaning.
What are the Benefits of Crows Eating Ticks?
The crow’s act of removing ticks may have many reasons. One of them is as a simply generous act for the infected animal. It can either be a deer, cow, or a rhino. Although the crow’s intentions haven’t been proven, this act is often called symbiotic cleaning, as mentioned previously.
One example of the crows’ doing this is when ticks have infected wallabies for quite some time during the summer in southern Queensland.
This made the crows come in. While the wallabies are busy drinking water, they unsuspectingly slide up to the wallabies’ parts where the ticks are and stealthily flash their beaks to devour those protein-rich parasites.
Next is birds can help reduce the tick population. A study speculated that the decline in bird population led to an increase in ticks.
This is because crows and other birds play a great role in ingesting ticks that can help eradicate these parasites.
Ticks are One of a Crow’s Favorite Meals
You might not realize it, but ticks are one of a crow’s favorite meals. They love to eat them!
It turns out that crows like ticks so much because they’re high in protein and fat, making them an excellent meal for the birds.
Plus, they can be found all over the place – from trees to bushes to grassy fields.
So, if you want your yard to be free of these pesky little creatures, make sure you make your yard and property warm and welcoming to birds, especially crows, to get rid of these ticks when they come by easily!