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Tick study in Leelanau County could host clues of climate change


Bill Scharf removes a common yellow throat from one of the mist nets he set up in the Chippewa Run Natural Area in Empire. Scharf catches the birds to inspect them for ticks, and will also record measurements and banding them before releasing them. Scharf spends mornings seven days a week collecting the data for the month of May and from August 15 to September 15. Bill Scharf places a band on the leg of a swamp sparrow in the Chippewa Run Natural Area in Empire. EMPIRE — Bill Scharf and a team of researchers started with a mist net.

The net certainly did its job. Scharf, a retired professor at Northwestern Michigan College, and the team of researchers has caught 6,400 birds across 98 different species at the Chippewa Run Natural Area to date.

It didn’t take long, however, for Scharf’s team to begin noticing a little more than wings and feathers affixed to a section of the birds the net caught.

“All of a sudden we started looking at it at the birds and we saw ticks on them,” Scharf said. “We said, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to know what they are and what they’re doing?’”

So that’s just what Scarf […]

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