Migrating Songbirds Are Bringing New Ticks to Texas

Songbirds from Central and South America have brought new tick species on their journey north, ones never seen here in Texas.

By Laura RiceNovember 30, 2015 2:44 pm| ,

You’ve heard of the butterfly effect – one small change can lead to a dramatically different course in history. Researchers in Texas are studying what could be the songbird effect, actually the songbird tick effect.

Songbirds have recently brought an exotic strain of ticks to Texas. Sarah Hamer, assistant professor in veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences at Texas A&M, has been studying songbird species that migrate from Central and South America.

“They’re bringing with them exotic tick species,” she says. “Ticks that we don’t have here, established throughout the United States, but the birds are bringing in many of these ticks each spring during the migration.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What’s happening with the bird migration and how these new tick species could become established across Texas

– How the changing environment may have previously limited these ticks to countries farther south, and how conditions may become more favorable to these new species

– What risks this invasive species and their pathogens may pose