We have been getting great encounters with groups of Spotted nutcracker feeding voraciously on pine seeds and insects. They have put on a show on the ground then up in the trees calling.
A special adaptation is found in the tongue of the nutcracker. The tip of the tongue forks with two long pointed appendages which are keratinized into nail like surfaces. This is thought to help them handle and shell conifer seeds.
Nutcracker pairs stay together for life. The fledged young stay with their parents for many months; following them to learn the food storage techniques essential for survival in their harsh environment.
Here are some photos I took today while watching a family of four birds do that.
It’s no surprise that the Spotted nutcracker features highly on the wish list of visiting birders!