Elk are to some birds as a burrito truck is to college kids after last call at the bars. In other words, elk are a roving food source for birds. Throughout much of the year, elk are covered with parasites, such as ticks. Birds comb through their fur picking off ticks one-by-one, a win-win for everything but the bloodsuckers. Birds will also scavenge elk scat for any undigested seeds. The only time elk seem truly annoyed with their avian hitch-hikers is when the birds fly in front of their face and obstruct their vision or peck at their eyes. A quick shake of the head and the birds are back to plucking parasites.