Ticks are particularly common in collared doves and wood pigeons. They will usually be on the head and look like a soft brown lump but their presence is often revealed by the black eye they can cause.
It is important that ticks are removed, – and removed properly – because they inject an anticoagulant into their host’s blood , which can cause haemorrhaging and can also affect the nervous system, causing neurological symptoms and often death.
If you find any you will need to ensure that you remove the whole tick including the head which will be buried in the bird’s flesh. If you do not have a tick remover you can use tweezers: position the claws of the tweezers as close as you can get to the bird’s body then gently twist anticlockwise. Dabbing the tick with Frontline first can weaken it and make it easier to remove. Treating the pigeon or dove with a course of Baytril (0.1 ml per 100 gms bodyweight of bird) can speed up the healing.
Video – how to remove a Tick:
Vets are not always able to diagnose tick damage.
This little dove’s vet thought that it might have a ruptured eye and that it would be blind for life.
However, it made a full recovery and was released. The following photographs provided courtesy of his rescuer, SharonSandland, show his progress towards eye’s complete recovery.