Clark’s Nutcracker

My first meeting with one of (at least) two Clark’s Nutcrackers who were frequenting Manning Park Resort in the early morning and afternoon. Like Gray Jays, Clark’s Nutcrackers are quite bold and will approach visitors in hopes of free food. Photographed on June 5.

Clark's Nutcrackerother aliases include Clark’s crow and woodpecker crow (you can see why).
f/8, 1/250, 150-500mm telephoto, 500mm, ISO 1250

Ironically, I was shooting upwards to the top of the very tall tree (which this subject was originally perched in), when my friend pointed out that it had actually landed on top of a fenced post around the Pinewoods Dining Room — making for a slightly more detailed image.

INTERESTING FACT: Did you know that the Clark’s Nutcracker is a tree maker? A large part of its diet is whitebark pine seeds, which it stores and overcaches against the proverbial rainy day (scarcity of food, and raiding by other animals). One bird can cache up to 100,000 seeds in a season, and has an excellent memory for them. The caches that don’t get eaten, can germinate and grow into new trees. Whitebark pine is an endangered tree species, thanks to destroyers like the mountain pine beetle and whitepine bark rust; they count on the Clark’s Nutcracker to disperse their seeds, and ultimately for the propagation of their species (facts and figures sourced from Wikipedia).


32 thoughts on “Clark’s Nutcracker

  1. Beautiful and busy bird! I remember eating seeds from roasted whitebark pine cones when I was in Canada, I don’t think it’s very tasty but some folks really like them, have you tried it? Grizzlies really like them too! I think the cones look really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great shot! I love these birds. They fly through our area in the fall. Pinon Jays plant seeds for pinon trees. I love these symbiotic relationships!

    Liked by 1 person

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