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Clark's Nutcracker - Nature's Arborist

trees, seeds, birds, trees ... a cycle

High in the mountains, a Clark's Nutcracker buries a cache of whitebark pine seeds. This will be nearly its sole source of food until the next summer. But some of those cached seeds will germinate, spawning a small grove of pines. Whitebark pines are one of more than 20 species of pines worldwide that rely almost exclusively on birds to renew their forests. Learn more about the Clark's Nutcracker and see video at Lee Rentz's blog.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Clark’s Nutcracker - Nature’s Arborist

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote!
[Loud calls of Clark’s Nutcracker]
High in the mountains near tree-line in the western states, a Clark’s Nutcracker folds its wings and dives. The bird plunges nearly a thousand feet, a black, white, and gray thunderbolt. [Whooshing sound, mixed with calls] Pulling up and landing, the Clark’s Nutcracker buries a cache of pine seeds with its long, black bill.
It’s October, and snow is on the way. Since August, the nutcracker has been harvesting and caching the seeds of whitebark pines. [Loud calls of Clark’s Nutcracker] In a special pouch under its tongue – a structure unique to nutcrackers – the bird can hold more than 80 pine seeds. It will stash away tens of thousands of seeds each summer. Most, it will dig up during the snowy months ahead. The seeds are nearly its sole source of food until the next summer. [Loud calls of Clark’s Nutcracker]
But some of those cached seeds are forgotten. These may germinate, spawning a small grove of pines. Whitebark pines are one of more than 20 species of pines worldwide that rely almost exclusively on birds like nutcrackers to renew their forests. Clark’s Nutcracker, named for the famous Western explorer William Clark, is one of nature’s indispensable tree planters. [Loud calls of Clark’s Nutcracker] 
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
###
Clark’s Nutcracker audio provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by R.S. Little and W.W.H. Gunn.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org      October 2016/2019    Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#102606CLNU3KPLU         CLNU-02b

Key reference: Lanner, Ronald M. Made For Each Other: A Symbiosis of Birds and Pines. New York: Oxford University Press.

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