[Tweeters] "Purple-throated" Nutcrackers

Gudalewicz Dasha dasha at gudalewicz.com
Sat Sep 24 17:31:29 PDT 2016


That is great!
Thanks a lot!

Dasha Gudalewicz
Sammamish, WA

> On Sep 24, 2016, at 5:24 PM, Guy <lguy_Mcw at yahoo.com> wrote:


> From Teresa Lorenz, a couple of years ago, when I also spotted some Nutcrackers with purple faces ...

> "Red anthocyanins (pigments) in unripe whitebark pine

> cones stain the face and breast feathers of nutcrackers foraging on unripe

> cones. "


> Guy McWethy

> Renton, WA

> Lguy_mcw at yahoo


> On Sep 24, 2016, at 11:07 AM, Gudalewicz Dasha <dasha at gudalewicz.com <mailto:dasha at gudalewicz.com>> wrote:


>> Hello Tweets,


>> Two weeks ago at Sunrise, Mount Rainier, I saw and photographed a nutcracker with throat stained pinkish/purplish. That reminded me that three years ago, in July, 2013, I saw two birds with similar stains, also at Sunrise.


>> First six images here:

>> <https://ololaiki.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Corvids/Clarks-Nutcracker-2/>https://ololaiki.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Corvids/Clarks-Nutcracker-2/ <https://ololaiki.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Corvids/Clarks-Nutcracker-2/>


>> That made me curious. But I couldn’t find anywhere what causes such staining.


>> And the only other photos I found online were made in Banff NP:

>> <https://leerentz.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/banff-national-park-friendly-relations-between-clarks-nutcracker-and-whitebark-pine/>https://leerentz.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/banff-national-park-friendly-relations-between-clarks-nutcracker-and-whitebark-pine/ <https://leerentz.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/banff-national-park-friendly-relations-between-clarks-nutcracker-and-whitebark-pine/>


>> I asked Dennis Paulson if he ever saw something like that and he did! At Sunrise in October 1974 he photographed what he called “Purple-throated Fruitcrow” :)


>> Dennis and I think that the most reasonable theory is that immature Whitebark Pine cones produce some kind of purplish stain.


>> From Clark’s Nutcracker profile on BNA Online:

>> “Beginning mid- to late Jul, harvests unripe pine seeds ( Tomback 1978a <https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/clanut/references#REF7261> , Hutchins and Lanner 1982 <https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/clanut/references#REF7244> , Christensen et al. 1991 <https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/clanut/references#REF41626> ). Removes seeds from closed whitebark, piñon, limber, Jeffrey, and ponderosa pine cones…”


>> But at the same time:

>> “Whitebark pine seeds stored as early as 15 Aug in Rocky Mtns. and 25 Aug in Sierra Nevada.”


>> Does anybody know when nutcrackers start collecting Whitebark seeds at Rainier? (as my first sighting was in July)

>> Have any of you encountered (and probably photographed) stained nutcrackers?

>> Or have you handled unripe Whitebark cones and can confirm that they stain?

>> If you’re planning on hiking Rainier (or any other place where Whitebark Pines grow) would you be willing to collect a cone (if it is in the hand’s reach!) and check if it stains?


>> Thank you!

>> And happy birding,


>> Dasha Gudalewicz,

>> Sammamish, WA

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