Bird Lice and other creepy crawlies

I’m looking into doing a crossing on Lake Michigan this summer that could leave me camped out on one of several tiny islands that are heavily populated with gulls. I’ve heard such a place could be infested with bird lice or who knows what??

Any thoughts on how to make the best of such a situation?

To avoid getting bird lice
I always infect myself with a separate strain of bird lice intensionally in advance. The odds of you having TWO separate strains of bird lice simultaneously are infitessimally small. That way I avoid getting both.

Don’t worry about bird lice
Lice in general are such extreme specialists that the chances of finding one which will live on both birds and mammals is probably nil, and the chances of finding one that will live on both birds and humans is “especially nil”. In addition, their transmital from one host to another requires close contact, since they cannot live off their host for more than a short time. To further set your mind at ease, bird lice are almost exclusively “chewing lice” while lice that live on mammals are exclusively (as far as I know) “sucking lice”, so you can see there’s not much chance the bird lice will take up residence on you.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were microbial diseases or certain parasites which might be something to worry about, but for that, good hygene is probably your best defense, but maybe this is within somebody’s realm of expertise and they will say more.

Such as


Reminds me of the curse of…
The “Foo Bird”

A guy was going kayaking into an area where the “Foo bird” was known to be and a local indian warned him not to go.

He still decided to go and then he was warned about the curse of the “Foo Bird”: that if for some reason the “Foo Bird” flew over and s— on him to make sure not to ever wash the s— off, and if he did there would be grave consequences.

He went and sure enough, a big “Foo Bird” showed up, made a big circle overhead and dropped a big load that covered the guy.

Now he was really worried and figured he better not wash the “Foo Birds” s— off.

Four or five days later he couldn’t stand the stink any more, and dove into some clear water and washed all the “Foo bird” s— off.

He immediately fell over dead

The moral of the story is: If the Foo s—s, wear it!



I have a small flock of chickens

– Last Updated: Mar-28-06 11:00 AM EST –

I know from learning about how to take care of my birds that the type of lice that infest chickens will not live on humans. I would presume that they are the same or very closely related to the type that live on the gulls, so that part I wouldn't be worried about. Other bacteria and parasites may be worth concern though.
Funny story: At the beach a few years ago, we were feeding some fries to the gulls and one that was overhead took a poop and it fell right behind the lens of my wife's right eye glasses and came to rest in there! Very funny (at least for me) at the time, but when we got home a week later, she developed a case of pink eye in that eye. It took a few days before we realized what the cause of it was. Moral: Never look up when there is a flock of seagulls overhead!

Further consequences of bird excrement
Two pirates meet on the street after having not seen each other in a long time. One looks like the quintissential pirate–peg leg, hook for a hand, patch on his eye–the second looks less disabled.

The second says to the first, “Hi Joe! Haven’t seen you in 10 years! What’s happened to you–why the wooden leg?”

The first pirate says, “We were lowering the anchor one day and its chain got fouled on the capstan. I tried to kick it into place, but my foot got caught in it. In order to save me from going overboard with the anchor, they had to chop off my foot. Fortunately the ship’s carpenter fashinoned this nice wooden leg for me, and I can get around pretty well”

“Boy!, that’s too bad, said pirate #2. What about the hook?”

Pirate #1 said, “I was part of a boarding party when we were trying to take another vessel. My hand was cut off by a cutlass, but fortunately the ship’s carpenter was able to fashion this hook for me, and there aren’t many things I can’t do with it.”

“Geez!”, said pirate #2. “That’s really unfortunate. I’m happy that you’ve been able to adapt to it. Dare I ask about the eyepatch?”

Pirate #1 explained, “You know how when you’re out at sea, occasionally the ship will pick up a soaring albatross that will follow you for a few days? Well that happened to us. The bird was with us for about a week, circling the ship right above us all that time. One day, when I happened to be looking up at him, he dropped a load on me, and it fell right into my eye.”

“Well, that shouldn’t necessarily make you go blind”, said the other pirate.

“True,” said #1, “but that was the day after I got my hook.”


Gull odors
Quick story.Paddling off Beaver Island,Mi.a couple years ago and stopped for lunch on a little spit of land affectionately known as Birdshit Island. We would’ve gladly dealt with lice over that smell. Our hasty lunch was consumed wearing nose plugs.I’m curious about your route ?

Bird lice are annoying and uncomfortable
until they die. In other words, you can pick up species specific lice, but they won’t survive. However, you don’t want to host them until they die. They’re real busy.

Put on sun screen and let it dry, then put a good bug dope over it. You get the protection with less skin absorbtion.