|I received the following
mail from David Playle, a visitor to Mullin May 2006. I thought it would
be of interest and with Davids kind permission publish it here.
Last May we had a very successful
holiday on the Isle of Mull, renting a cottage on the coast near Bunessan
on the South West of the Island. During breakfast my youngest daughter
spotted a puffin floundering ashore through the surf. Watching it, it soon
became apparent that it was “unwell” and behaving abnormally. We went to
investigate and discovered that the birds head was a mass of ticks. I had
never seen anything like this before, and was totally unaware that birds,
especially sea birds, could become hosts to ticks. I would have thought
that repeated submersion in salt water would have kept them at bay. Presumably
they became attached whilst the bird was “dry” ashore nesting/incubating.
The attached photos of the
afflicted puffin may be of interest to you and your readers of MullBirds?
Please use them, or not, as you wish. I would be interested to know myself
if this parasitism is common in seabirds or whether this was very much
an exceptional case."