Birds With A Memory To Envy – Creation Moments

“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.” (Job 38:41)

The shy bird called Clark’s nutcracker collects food during the growing season and stores it for the cold winter months. In one year, a bird will store between 22,000 and 33,000 seeds in as many as 2,500 locations, which can be more than ten miles apart. But does the little bird remember where he put all those seeds?

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) by Ian

Biologists tracked the activity of Clark’s nutcrackers in the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. A small army of researchers tracked the birds’ seed gathering and storing activities. One of the first things they discovered was that the birds quickly figured out that they were being observed. Some refused to store food when researchers were watching them. Others faked storing seeds when they were watched. Back in the lab, researchers studied the storing activity of Eurasian nutcrackers. After the birds stored seeds in a large sand floor, the birds were removed. Then the seeds they stored were dug up. When the birds were allowed to return, they quickly discovered that their seeds had been stolen, so they refused to store any more seeds. In the end, researchers concluded that the nutcrackers recover as many as two-thirds of their stored seeds within 13 months.

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) ©WikiC

The remarkable memory of these little birds is their gift from God that enables them to be fed all year around.

Prayer: Father, I thank You because You are gracious and generous, not just to the birds, but also to me. Amen.

Ref: Science News, 2/14: 2004, pp. 103-105, Susan Milius, “Where’d I Put That?” Photo: Clark’s nutcracker PD

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What an interesting memory. How is your memory doing? Is it as good as these Nutcrackers?

See More From:

Interesting Things

Wordless Birds

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