Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Teresa J. Lorenz; Kimberly A. Sullivan; Amanda V. Bakian; Carol A. Aubry
    Date: 2011
    Source: The Auk. 128(2): 237-247
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (2.08 MB)


    Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga Columbiana) is one of the most specialized scatter-hoarding birds, considered a seed disperser for four species of pines (Pinus spp.), as well as an obligate coevolved mutualist of White bark Pine (P. albicaulis). Cache-site selection has not been formally studied in Clark 's Nutcrackers, which are considered effective seed dispersers for pines because past studies have found that they harvest and store large quantities of seeds. Although many seeds are placed in sites suitable for germination and establishment, information is lacking on the proportions of seeds placed in suitable versus unsuitable sites. We used radiotelemetry to investigate cache-site selection and evaluate the suitability of selected cache sites for establishment of Whitebark and Ponderosa (P. ponderosa) pines. On a landscape scale, Clark's Nutcrackers cached seeds centrally within home ranges, even though this required them to transport seeds up to 32 .6 km. They selected low-elevation forests for caching, presumably because these sites accumulated little snow. When caching at high elevations, the birds placed most seeds in aboveground microsites. Only 15% of White bark Pine seed caches (n = 155 caches) were placed below ground and in habitats where seeds could germinate and seedlings grow. For comparative purposes, 42% of Ponderosa Pine seed caches were placed in suitable habitats and below ground. Although Whitebark Pine is an obligate mutualist of Clark 's Nutcracker, our study suggests that Clark 's Nutcrackers in some populations may be more effective seed dispersers for Ponderosa Pine than for Whitebark Pine.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Lorenz, Teresa J.; Sullivan, Kimberly A.; Bakian, Amanda V.; Aubry, Carol A. 2011. Cache-site selection in Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana). The Auk. 128(2): 237-247.


    avian seed dispersal, home-range fidelity, resource selection, Pinus albicaulis, P. pondersa

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page