Increasing winter temperatures are expected to cause seasonal activity of Ixodes ricinus ticks to extend further into the winter. We caught birds during winter months (November to February) at a site in the west of Scotland over a period of 24 years (1993–1994 to 2016–2017) to quantify numbers of attached I. ricinus and to relate these to monthly mean temperature. No adult ticks were found on any of the 21,731 bird captures, but 946 larvae and nymphs were found, with ticks present in all winter months, on 16 different species of bird hosts. All ticks identified to species were I. ricinus. I. ricinus are now active throughout the year in this area providing temperature permits. No I. ricinus were present in seven out of eight months when the mean temperature was below 3.5º C. Numbers of I. ricinus attached to birds increased rapidly with mean monthly temperatures above 7º C. Winter temperatures in Scotland have been above the long-term average in most years in the last two decades, and this is likely to increase risk of tick-borne disease.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1