Clark’s Nutcracker’s Fantastic Memory

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) ©USFWS

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. (Psalms 20:7 NKJV)

How many of you have a good memory? A great memory? How about the memory of the Clark’s Nutcracker? “The Clark’s nutcracker, a bird that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and remember where it put them several months later;” [quote from Jennifer Ackerman’s book, The Genius of Birds]

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) by Ian

“All year round, the staple food of a Clark Nutcracker’s diet is pine seeds, either fresh or stored. The nutcracker uses its long, sharp, sturdy bill to crack open closed, unripe pine cones and remove seeds from the cone scales. It shells seeds by cracking them in its bill or by holding them in its feet and hammering them. Between September and December it stores seeds to eat later, placing 30–150 seeds in the pouch under its tongue and carrying them to a spot nearby or up to 15 miles away.”

Clark’s Nutcracker – Notice the throat pouch ©WikiC

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, (Psalms 105:5 NKJV)

“It digs a trench in the soil with its bill and puts a cluster of seeds inside before covering them up again, or it pushes individual seeds into gravelly soil, pumice, or crevices in wood. During the winter and spring, it relocates caches by remembering where they lie in relation to nearby objects like rocks, logs, and trees. Nutcrackers have such good memories that they can relocate seeds more than nine months after caching them, though their accuracy declines after about six months. They don’t recover all the seeds they bury, and it’s estimated that for some high-elevation pines, such as whitebark pine, virtually all the trees you can see on the landscape come from seeds planted by a nutcracker.” [All About Birds, Clark’s Nutcracker]

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) by Ian

I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. (Psalms 77:11-12 NKJV)

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) ©WikiC

Interesting Fact:

  • Ounce for ounce, the whitebark pine seeds that many Clark’s Nutcrackers depend on have more calories than chocolate.

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) ©WikiC

See for more information about this amazing creation from the Lord:

Clark’s Nutcracker – All About Birds

Wordless Birds

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