The industrious Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) collects far more pine seeds than it can eat, and likes to bury excess seeds to save for later. The birds are so good at essentially “planting” seeds that whitebark pines have come to depend on Clark’s Nutcrackers to propagate. Likewise, Clark’s Nutcrackers prefer whitebark pine as their primary food source. Unfortunately, a decline in whitebark pine due to blister rust (a fungal disease) has also led to a decline in Clark’s Nutcracker populations.

NPS/Brett Klopp photo. ~kl

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