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California Jay Picks Ticks from Mule Deer

Joseph S. Dixon
Publication Information
4 (July-August)
From Field and Study

California Jay Picks Ticks fro’m Mule Deer.-On March 22, 1944, at Potwisha at the junction of the Marble Fork and the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in Sequoia National Park, California, Dr. C. M. Herman and Donald McLean of the California Division of Fish and Game, Ranger Clarence Fry of the National Park Service and the writer watched a California Jay (Aplzelocoma cdijo~leica) alight on the back of a mule deer and hunt for and pick off wood ticks and deer tick flies as the deer fed on green grass under an oak tree. The deer paid not the slightest attention to the bird and seemed to welcome rather than to resent the tick-picking jay, even when it alighted on the deer’s neck. A deer is usually quite sensitive about its ears, but not in this’instance. According to local people this was a daily occurrence but it was the first time in over 45 years of field experience that I have ever actually seen a California Jay in the act of picking ticks off a deer under natural conditions in the wild. Have other members of the Cooper Club observed this habit in our California Jay? Where? When?.-JOSEPH S. DIXON, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Berkeley, California, April 2.5, 1944. 

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