[Tweeters] "Purple-throated" Nutcrackers

Gudalewicz Dasha dasha at gudalewicz.com
Sat Sep 24 17:48:32 PDT 2016


Thanks to just one word “anthocyanins” I could widen my search and found this article!

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/bbimages/lb/pdf/LB-Nutcracker-1977.pdf <https://www.allaboutbirds.org/bbimages/lb/pdf/LB-Nutcracker-1977.pdf>

“While harvesting seed, nutcrackers become covered on their breast and throat with red color from anthocyanins - pigments in cones (Mirov, 1967) - from contact with the broken ends of scales.”

I think, mystery solved :)

Thanks again, Guy!

Dasha Gudalewicz
Sammamish, WA



> On Sep 24, 2016, at 5:31 PM, Gudalewicz Dasha <dasha at gudalewicz.com> wrote:

>

> Guy,

>

> That is great!

> Thanks a lot!

>

> Dasha Gudalewicz

> Sammamish, WA

>

>

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