Clark's Nutcracker

General description.

"Clark's Nutcracker" complements his dull appearance with white patches on his black wings and tail rectrices. It was named for the explorer, Captain William Clark, who described this nutcracker as a "new species of woodpecker". It clings to trees, pecking for grubs as do woodpeckers, but also walks majestically about like a crow. Their strong, long bills serve crowbars to crack open pine cones to extract seeds.

Breeding habits.

This bird begins breeding in winter in Alaska, Manitoba, British Columbia, and south to Wyoming, where the nutcracker often faces raging snowstorms and below freezing temperatures.

Calls or song.

The "Clark's Nutcracker" produces a noisy" kraak" mostly while in flight. When perched with one another, they utter "meerk" or "mew" sounds. "Chirrup" is exchanged by mating couples.

Population and distribution.

The "Clark's Nutcracker" ranges in the foothills and heights of the Rockies and Sierras down to Baja, California and New Mexico. An amazing sight is his plunge, headlong, down a deep canyon, wings folded. Just as it would seem the bird might be dashed to pieces, he opens his wings to brake the dive and heads back upwards.

Nesting habits.

Starting in February the "Clark's Nutcracker" forms a nest of twigs, bound by strips of bark and lined with pine needles. The female lays a clutch of two to four pale green eggs dotted with brown.
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